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A Summer Update on The New Orleans Pelicans 2019

From Darkness to Light:  A Summer Update on The New Orleans Pelicans 2019

By Mario Jerez

Click aqui para español- >Una actualización de verano sobre los New Orleans Pelicans 2019

When Anthony Davis demanded a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans, basketball fans in New Orleans had their worst fear realized.

The future looked bleak, and without Davis, the team would surely slip into the NBA’s cellar. Right? -Wrong.

New Orleans has rebounded with a wildly successful offseason. Under the leadership of owner, Gayle Benson, the team survived its darkest days, and the light at the end of the tunnel is already manifesting.

 

The Pelicans (finally) fired former general manager, Dell Demps and hired David Griffin. Griffin is the team’s new executive vice president of basketball operations and was the most sought after executive in the NBA this offseason.

The architect of the 2016 NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers surprised many when he left the broadcasting world and became the Pelicans’ new leader in the front office.

Griffin turned down offers from the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks in favor of New Orleans. Benson promised total dominion of the franchise, and he’s already made significant changes.

Since Griffin’s hiring, Benson has agreed to invest over $4.5 million into improvements to the team’s practice facility, including a renovated training room, and a new and improved medical staff. Griffin made an insistent list of demands before agreeing to the job, and they have all been met so far.

In one the most lopsided trades ever for a single NBA player, the Pelicans traded Anthony Davis to acquire Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and at least three first round picks from the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, the Pelicans will soon get another superstar to make up for Anthony Davis’ departure.

Despite having just a 6.0% chance to win the 2019 draft lottery, the Pelicans lucked out and were awarded the number one pick in the upcoming NBA draft. By the time this article is published, New Orleans will have almost certainly selected Duke’s Zion Williamson to be the franchise’s potential savior.

Williamson is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James in 2003, and Duke won 30 out of the 33 games he played in during his lone collegiate season. He possesses a rare blend of skills and athleticism that can see the 18-year-old quickly become one of the best players in the league.

Griffin still has to construct the rest of the team, and there’s plenty of work left to do. However, things are already looking up for the Pelicans.

It’s Finally Football Season Again!

It’s Finally Football Season Again!

By Mario Jerez

Click aqui para español->¡Por fín regresa la temporada de football!

Last January, Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs broke the city of New Orleans’ collective heart. Diggs took advantage of a defensive blunder and scored a last-second touchdown to eliminate the Saints from the NFL playoffs.

The “Minnesota Miracle”, as the play has been dubbed, will live on in NFL infamy and has tortured Saints fans with constant replays throughout the off season. However, the new season is finally upon us. And the Saints are about to get their shot at redemption.

The core of last year’s team, which went 11-5 and won its division, is back to take another crack at a title. Sean Payton and Drew Brees are one of six active head coach-quarterback combinations to have won a super bowl.

 Twelve years into their tenure, they remain the orchestrators of one of the league's best offenses. For the first time in a long time, the Saints also had a solid defense in 2017. This year, the unit hopes for continued improvement under third-year defensive coordinator Dennis Allen.

These factors, combined with several others, have created high expectations for the upcoming campaign. Around water coolers and on sports talk shows, the Saints are as good a pick as anyone to win it all. The team even hung a large banner that reads “prove them right” at their practice facility, a reference to the praise the Saints have garnered from local and national media.

They will have to take it one game at a time, and nothing is guaranteed. But, in New Orleans, the anticipation is the highest it’s been in years! This team has the talent to win a championship. But the NFL season is long and unpredictable, and preseason expectations can become irrelevant quickly.

Still, the city of New Orleans is right to be excited. This team has a chance to do something special and hopefully, they’re able to rise to the challenge.

The Saints open the regular season on September 9th in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

A Summer Update on the New Orleans Pelicans

A Summer Update on the New Orleans Pelicans

By Mario Jeréz

Click aqui para español->Los sucesos del verano de los New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. Despite a season-ending injury to all-star DeMarcus Cousins, the Pels swept the Portland Trailblazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. It was the second post-season triumph in team history, and the future looked bright. However, the team was eliminated quickly in the second round, and they’ve already lost multiple players to other teams this summer. Meanwhile, they’ve also added some new players.

LOSSES

Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo signed a one year, nine-million-dollar contract with the Lakers. The Pelicans didn’t have the necessary funds to make a better offer, and they lost their starting point guard. Rondo averaged 12.2 assists per game in the 2018 playoffs, ranking first in the NBA. Following Cousins’ devastating Achilles injury last season, the Pelicans deemed resigning him too risky for the salary he wanted. Cousins went on to sign a one-year deal with the Warriors. In two seasons, the Pelicans had a 31-28 record with him in their line up.

ADDITIONS

With Cousins and Rondo leaving, the Pelicans had to act fast, and they signed a couple of promising young players. Forward Julius Randle agreed to a two-year contract with New Orleans. The 23-year-old is coming off his best season with the Lakers, averaging 16 points per game, and he was heavily recruited by Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. The Pelicans also signed New Orleans native Elfrid Payton to a one-year contract. The 24-year-old point guard averaged 12 points and six assists per game for the Suns and Magic last season.

CONCLUSSION

Rondo’s leadership and elite passing abilities will be tough to replace. The Pelicans have already had success without Cousins, but, when healthy, he’s an elite player, and time will tell if letting him walk was the right decision. The good news is New Orleans will still return its two best players in Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Also, the team can still make some minor roster moves before next season. But to replicate last year’s success, the Pelicans will need the new arrivals to make significant contributions.

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Publisher's Note

There is an idea that most Latino immigrants who come here lack education, and thus are bound to perform jobs that require more physical abilities than intellectual ones.

The laborers usually receive a negative stigma, even though the United States society requires these types of jobs to function properly. It is important to us to remember there is dignity in any job. 

In our Líders section, we feature Mari Alejos-Puente, an entrepreneur who is succeeding in the cosmetics’ industry. She graduated from Tulane University and Xavier University and she told me how her mother and her grandmother  were part of the cleaning crews at these institutions, respectively, and how proud they were to see her obtain her undergrad and master degrees.

It is a beautiful thing when you know ladies like this mother and grandmother work hard to give a better life to their children. I wanted to mention this as a side note, because it is important to highlight their efforts, just as much as the effort of the highly skilled professionals we are featuring in our cover story.

In our cover we feature three Latin American physicians who are giving individuals a second chance in life with through their commitment and work at the Ochsner Transplant Institute.

Let his note be a reminder that Latinos, in every field, are providing their skills, talent, and sacrifices every day to make the United States a culturally and economically stronger society.

AnaMaria