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Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Gibson, Mavs, Rockets

The Pelicans got off to a horrible start to the 2016/17, losing their first eight games, but they seem to be trending in the right direction lately, writes Oliver Maroney of Basketball Insiders. As Maroney points out, the club has looked particularly effective since Jrue Holiday‘s return, and will get another boost when Tyreke Evans gets back on the court, which could happen soon. With Anthony Davis reaffirming his loyalty to the franchise, things in New Orleans don’t look quite as bleak as they did earlier this month.

Here’s more from around the Southwest division:

  • Jonathan Gibson looks like a volume shooter through his first few games with Dallas, but considering how much trouble most of the Mavericks – outside of Harrison Barnes – are having scoring, it’s worth keeping Gibson around based on his potential, says Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. The Mavs have some flexibility with the rookie guard, whose salary won’t become guaranteed until January 10.
  • In a separate Morning News link, Sefko weighs in on early potential free agent targets for the 2017 Mavericks, suggesting that the team ought to have its eye on point guards, even if stars like Stephen Curry and Chris Paul are unlikely to change teams. The team also figures to have a hole at center, but Sefko thinks that could be addressed in the draft.
  • Finally, Sefko observes that the Mavericks achieved a rare feat on Monday night, when their starting lineup featured four undrafted players due to the injuries that have plagued the roster.
  • Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy lavished praise on the Rockets‘ coaching staff, singling out assistant Jeff Bzdelik and suggesting Mike D’Antoni‘s influence on James Harden has had a huge impact on the club. Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle has the details and quotes.

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