Orlando– When the New Orleans Pelicans brass decided to give their roster a makeoverthis offseason, bringing in six new players, they had to figure there was goingto be a steep learning curve and an abundance of mistakes as the newbies workedtheir way through coach Monty Williams' system.
Headinginto the final preseason game Friday against the Orlando Magic, the Pelicans stillhave some kinks to work out before the season opener against the Indiana Pacerson Wednesday.
Despitethe Pelicans' surprising 6-1 preseason record, there is growing concern withthe number of turnovers the team is committing.
Inmany of the Pelicans preseason games Williams has lamented about the sloppy ballhandling. But until it resulted in the Pelicans' first loss of the exhibitionseason on Wednesday against the Miami Heat (108-95), when New Orleans had 24turnovers, the shoddy play was overlooked.
In wake of the Heat game, player after player has repeatedthe same point of emphasis going forward – "eliminate turnovers."
"We just turned the ball over," Pelicans forward RyanAnderson said after the loss to the Heat. "We turned the ball over twenty-fourtimes. You can't do that against the Miami Heat. It's a learning point and wehave to work on a few things. They showed us a defense that we really haven'tseen this preseason. It's a great learning point for us. We're going to get inthe gym and work on some stuff."
In seven preseason games, the Pelicans have turned the ballover 132 times, an average of 18.8 times. Last season, the Pelicans averaged13.7 turnovers a game, albeit while playing at a much slower tempo.