There are three former 76ers on the New Orleans Pelicans' roster (we haven't forgotten about you, Jason Smith and Lou Amundson), but the one nearest and dearest to the hearts of most Sixers' fans is Jrue Randall Holiday.
It sounds strange to say about a man who was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team last year, but the Sixers really haven't missed a beat without their former point guard. Rookie Michael Carter-Williams appears to have the makings of a solid young playmaker, while Holiday - who was never considered a natural floor general - is having some issues in his first season in the Big Easy.
Holiday is shooting just 39.8 percent from the field this season (offset somewhat by his 47.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc), his turnover rate is a troubling 22%, and his Offensive and Defensive Ratings (90 and 108, respectively) are the worst of his career.
He isn't the only Pelican struggling this year, however: Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans have yet to find their rhythm as both are shooting less than 41 percent from the floor. And Austin Rivers? Well... at least he has those memories at Duke to fall back on.
Conversely, Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis is a grown man, and the numbers that he's put up so far this year (21.8 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.1 BPG) make him a strong candidate for the All-Star Game (which just happens to be in NOLA this February).
On the injury front, tonight could mark the return of Pelicans' forward Ryan Anderson, who hasn't suited up yet this season due to a lingering toe injury. The Sixers definitely won't see Greg Stiemsma - he'll miss the next 6-8 weeks with a sprained MCL. As far as the good guys are concerned, don't be surprised if Carter-Williams sits out the rest of the road trip due to a bruised left arch.
The Sixers own the rights to New Orleans' top-5 protected first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, so if the 3-6 Pelicans win tonight, then there's a slightly better chance that the 76ers actually receive the pick next summer. So if your rooting interests are conflicted this evening, it's completely understandable.
For the view from the Bayou, check out our friends over at The Bird Writes. They'll bring the gumbo, but we have to buy the beer.
(Editor's note: Nothing for nothing, it's better not to have a mascot than to be burdened with the monstrosity known as Pierre the Pelican.)