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New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center
The New Orleans Pelicans sail into another season at the Smoothie King Center, where they have enjoyed a notable home-court advantage over their history. The venue, in the heart of the city's Central Business District, has undergone significant renovations since it opened in 1999 as the New Orleans Arena. Recent years have seen upgrades to the lighting and sound systems and enhancements in the concession areas, all aimed at elevating the fan experience.
New Orleans Pelicans 2019-20 Season
The new-look Pelicans feature 2019 No. 1 NBA Draft pick Zion Williamson, who dominated as a freshman at Duke University. He is joined by Derrick Favors, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick, and Jahlil Okafor.
They will look for some stability from this lineup as they look to mesh as a team. Holiday led the Pelicans last team with 7.7 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
Head coach Alvin Gentry enters his fifth season at the Pelicans' helm, with the challenge of competing in the league's rugged Western Conference with a brand new rotation in front of him.
New Orleans Pelicans History
The franchise joined the NBA in 1988 in Charlotte, N.C., as the Hornets. The team struggled until the early 1990s, when in a three-year span they assembled the young trio of Alonzo Mourning, Larry Johnson, and Kendall Gill. With Glen Rice added to the mix, they made four playoff appearances in the 1990s, failing to go farther than the second round, and started another successful stretch in the 1999-2000 season fueled by guard Baron Davis. But after an unsuccessful bid to get a new arena, the team moved to New Orleans in 2002.
The Hornets made the playoffs each of their first two years in New Orleans, but after the third year they were forced to relocate to Oklahoma City for two seasons due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Upon returning in 2007-08, they finished 56-26 to win the Southwest Division, led by the trio of Chris Paul, David West, and Tyson Chandler. In the playoffs, they beat the Dallas Mavericks in the first round before falling to the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game conference semifinal.
Under new ownership (New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson purchased the Hornets), the team then changed its name to the Pelicans.
Anthony Davis joined the Pelicans after the franchise won the top pick in the 2012 draft lottery.