For a few minutes, Pelicans fans were ready to welcome the second half of the Crescent City-style Twin Towers to the NBA — instead of the rookie point guard they had expected.
The most famous eyebrows in town meets the tallest flat top.
But it wasn’t meant to be on this NBA draft night of trades.
Just that fast, the Pelicans shipped center Nerlens Noel of the University of Kentucky, the No. 6 pick of Thursday night’s draft, to Philadelphia for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday.
The Pelicans gained the services of the point guard they wanted.
“He’s a scorer. Great player. He’s an All-Star,” said Davis, the centerpiece of the Pelicans’ future. “Whomever we get, they’re definitely going to help us win games, make the team better, make the Pelicans better as an organization.”
And the fans got the excitement they crave, albeit off the court. Hope you had a smartphone to keep up with the second-by-second deals on draft night.
“It was kind of confusing because I didn’t know what was going on,” said Pelicans fan Cherese Oatis, who was in her latest Hornets/Pelicans outfit — red shirt, colorful tutu and just-as-colorful boots. Don’t forget the red wig and gold lettering under the eyes, stating, “PHLY GIRL.”
Thanks to fellow fans at Manning’s in downtown New Orleans, Oatis figured it out.
“We have an All-Star point guard,” he said. “We can build around that. Hopefully it will work out.”
But Gerald Lackar of Destrehan was looking forward to another big body in the post next to Davis.
“Like the way Hakeem (Olajuwon) and Ralph Sampson did back in the day (for the Houston Rockets),” Lackar said. “I didn’t know who was going to be who. But then I started thinking, ‘Maybe they’ll trade him.’ But I didn’t think that they’d trade him for Holiday.”
Sure did. Holiday, who is 6-foot-4, averaged 17.7 points, 8.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds last season. Great move, said Jesse Brooks of Hammond. The Pelicans, who finished last season at 27-55, are much closer to reaching the postseason in 2013-14, he said.
“Any time you add an All-Star, which we didn’t have on the roster before, you immediately put yourself in a position to be able to head toward the playoffs,” Brooks said.
And that could be without Greivis Vasquez, last season’s starting point guard, whose job status is now in question.
“I love what Greivis Vasquez did last here, Brooks said. “But he has several liabilities, like defense, and he’s a little slow-footed and commits some turnovers every now and then.”