BILOXI, Miss. — Through weightlifting this past summer, second-year power forward Anthony Davis showed up at training camp with broader shoulders. He might need them, at least sometimes.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams said after Saturday’s practice that he will likely play Davis at center sometimes this season. Greg Stiemsma, 6-foot-11, 265 pounds, was signed during the offseason to give the Pelicans a strong defensive and rebounding presence in the lane.
Williams, thinking of offense at the position, said Davis can do it in stretches.
“I worry about him playing against Dwight Howard, though,” Williams said.
As he thinks about the possibilities of the Pelicans lineup for this season, Williams said he would like to see 3-point shooter Ryan Anderson on the court with Davis more. Anderson also is a power forward, and he usually replaced Davis during games.
Williams said he liked the combined scoring of the duo, and that Davis would make for a quick lineup.
“It’s still like having two power forwards out there that you have to match up against,” Williams said. “AD is probably faster than most bigs in the league. That should give him the advantage.”
Anderson’s eyes lit up when told of Williams’ plans. Anderson played with Howard, a strong low-post player, when the two were in Orlando, and he could help Davis, he said.
“When I played with Dwight, I was able to spread the court for him so that he could work,” Anderson said. “I feel I could do the same for Anthony. He’s not a back-to-the-post player, but he can score in a lot of ways.”
Eager to return
Tyreke Evans has been seen the past few days after practice working on his jump shot, his left ankle hardly showing signs of being sprained when Evans landed on the foot of Houston guard Isaiah Canaan in the Oct. 5 preseason opener.
“It’s much better; it’s day-by-day now,” he said Saturday. “It’s a little tender when I land, but it’s much better.”
Evans was expected to be out two weeks, which would have put him on course to return for the Oct. 19 game in Lexington, Ky., against the Washington Wizards. He said, however, he could return for Thursday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Tulsa, Okla.
“I’ll see where I am after practices, but I don’t want to rush it, and I’ll be careful about that,” he said.
Evans has been going against team assistants, making moves and taking step-back jumpers. He indicated his lateral movement is not where it should be, yet.
“I’ve been running on the treadmill and shooting,” he said. “When I cut, it kind of hurts a little bit. I’m just trying to be healthy for the first game of the season and come back and help this team.”
Eric Gordon has been participating in the same sessions as Evans, and is due to begin practicing next week.
He had a conditioning test on Thursday that Williams said he passed. But the team wanted to monitor how Gordon felt at Friday’s practice.
“I feel good,” he said Friday. “I passed the test and look forward to going on.”
Gordon had ankle surgery on May 10 after missing 40 games and playing on a restriction due to his right knee not being 100 percent healthy. He said he feels much better now.
“It’s a major difference,” he said. “Last year, I was hurting throughout the year. Now, I have a chance to be more pain-free.
“Now, it’s about getting into great shape so I can get ready for the regular season.”
He said he looked forward to playing in some preseason games.
“I just can’t wait to get up and down (the court) and go five-on-five,” he said.
With a cast of new offensive threats, Anderson knew he’d have a chance for more open 3-point shots this season. So far, he said, he can’t believe how easy it has been.
In three preseason games, Anderson has shot 50 percent on 3-point attempts.
“I haven’t been as open as I was when we played Orlando (in Wednesday night’s game) in like two years,” he said. “I didn’t even need to put the ball on the floor. (Magic point guard) Jameer Nelson said ‘Are you going to dribble the ball? I said, ‘You’re leaving me open; I don’t know what else to do.’ They’ll get angry with me if I don’t shoot it.’ ”
Anderson said he knew defenses would change when the regular season starts, but he wonders how much.
“The three teams we’ve play, two used a switching defense that left a smaller guy on me, and the other team left me open,” he said.