Imagine taking a car trip at the same time every year, ahopeful journey toward unexpected adventure down a path that could be smooth orbumpy depending upon the driver's proficiency behind the wheel.
For the New Orleans Pelicans, that sojourn begins on Wednesdaynight in New Orleans Arena against the Indiana Pacers in the NBA regular-seasonopener.
And for the fourth time in four years, the Pelicans' ridewill be steered by a new chauffeur as the search to replace the best vehicleoperator in team history, one who remains among the league's best, embarks onto its next chapter.
Perennial All-Star guard Chris Paul had the keys in hishands in Monty Williams' first season here in 2010 before moving on before thestart of the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
Then it was Jarrett Jack's turn.
Last season, it appeared rookie Austin Rivers might have thechance yet possessed only a learner's permit; Greivis Vasquez was more skilledat navigating Williams' on-court map.
This year, and for the next four it would seem, the Pelicans'sedan will be driven by Jrue Holiday, who has assumed command void ofpretense, armed with a desire to succeed and the ability to quickly create afraternal bond with a group of new teammates with which he had not playedbefore.
And the Pelicans, according to Williams, will in turn havesome options that have been unavailable to the team since Paul departed.
"Jrue gives you a guy on the ball that we haven't had sinceChris," Williams said Monday, "so from that standpoint, there are some thingswe can do on defense that do excite me.