AOL.com's Preseason NBA Power Rankings: 11. New Orleans Pelicans

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Eric Gordon Believes Pelicans Will Take That Next Step

The NBA season is now barely more than two weeks away, and as the offseason comes closer to an end, so are our preseason team previews and rankings. We've been breaking down each NBA team every Monday through Friday -- most recently ranking the Toronto Raptors at No. 12.

Before we crack the top 10, it's time to discuss the soon-to-be best player in the world -- and his team that can't seem to string together success.



Atlanta Hawks v New Orleans Pelicans

Though it seems like he's been dominating for years, Anthony Davis is still only 22 years old. And that's what makes him so scary.

After posting numbers last season that only Shaquille O'Neal could match in his 21-year-old-season, Davis is already performing at unprecedented levels for a player his age. To boot, he's added significant bulk to his frame and could even work in a three-point shot under Alvin Gentry this season.

Davis' dominance is basically a given at this stage -- so long as he's on the floor. He missed 14 games due to injury last season -- which was actually a career-low. When he's suited up, the Pelicans are formidable on both ends. But when he's not, their supporting cast has struggled to string together any meaningful success.

Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Omer Asik have the potential to make up an intimidating supporting five. But each and every one has also battled injury troubles. Asik is already out for the next three weeks, and Holiday is under a 15-minute limit until further notice.

But, when healthy, Holiday has shown flashes of top-10 point guard potential. He's averaged 13.6 points and 6.1 assists per game over his career, hitting more than 37 percent of his threes and making the All-Star team in 2012-13.

After back-to-back 20-point-per-game seasons in 2011 with the Clippers and 2012 with New Orleans, Gordon has crashed harder back to earth than anyone suspected. Still just 26 years old, though, there's time for the guard to revive his career -- he'll just need to avoid injury to have a chance. After his rookie year, the most games he's played in a season has been 64.

Anderson provides great shooting ability while Quincy Pondexter anf Alexis Ajinca can provide versatile minutes off the bench. Tyreke Evans had a productive year in 2014-15, and hopes to continue trending in that direction.

Davis will be great, and can single handedly keep this team in playoff contention barring injury. But to make the next step, the other 11 players will need to make the necessary strides -- and they're hoping Alvin Gentry is the man to orchestrate it all.

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