The vaunted San Antonio Spurs head to the Big Easy Wednesday night to take on Southwest Division rivals, the new-look New Orleans Hornets in the NBA debut of No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis.
Davis, who played one year at Kentucky and led the Wildcats to a national championship, spent the summer on Team USA at the London Olympics and is ready to lead the Hornets in his rookie season.
New Orleans head coach Monty Williams has been so impressed with Davis offensively, that Williams said Davis would see some time at the small forward spot. Not bad for a 6-foot-10 stud known primarily for his defense.
Davis wasn't the only major addition to a Hornets team that went 21-45 last season.
Austin Rivers was selected 10th in the NBA Draft, but has been hampered by a sprained right ankle. He is expected to play Wednesday night.
Eric Gordon, the main piece in last season's Chris Paul blockbuster trade, signed a restricted free-agent deal with the Phoenix Suns, but the Hornets matched. He is still bothered by a bum right knee and his availability for the season opener is in question.
The Hornets acquired reigning Most Improved Player Ryan Anderson in a sign- and-trade with the Orlando Magic.
There are a lot of new pieces to give Hornets' fans optimism.
There are very few new pieces for the Spurs, who really don't need much help.
San Antonio tied for the best record in the NBA last season and was knocked out in the Western Conference Finals by the Oklahoma City Thunder. They made almost no moves in the offseason, other than re-signing all-world Tim Duncan to a three-year deal.
"I'm glad the regular season is here and we get to play some games," Duncan said on Monday.
He will be back to anchor the Spurs, but the team's best player has become Tony Parker. He nearly missed the Olympics for his French national team, when he injured his eye in a New York bar fight. Parker averaged 18.3 points per game last season and a career-high 7.7 assists. He finished fifth in the 2011-12 MVP voting.
The third member of the Spurs' version of the Big Three, Manu Ginobili, didn't even travel to New Orleans. According to the San Antonio Express-News, Ginobili stayed home to nurse a sore back, which kept him out of four preseason games.
The role players of the Spurs, arguably the best role players in the league, are all back. Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, DeJuan Blair, Matt Bonner and Gary Neal will help out Tiago Splitter, Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw to lighten the load on Duncan, Parker and Ginobili.
The Spurs won all four games against the Hornets last season and 11 of the last 13 meetings. San Antonio has won two straight in New Orleans and five of the last six.