If the playoffs were to start today, the New Orleans Pelicans would be matched up with the Golden State Warriors in round one.
Yes, the defending champion Golden State Warriors with the star-studded lineup of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
Not that the Pelicans lack some star names themselves with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.
New Orleans Friday night's game against Portland will mark the halfway point of the season for the Pelicans. They enter the contest at 20-20, a half-game clear of the ninth-place Los Angeles Clippers for the eight spot, a half-game behind the Denver Nuggets for the seven spot. In fact, the fifth spot, occupied by Portland through the nine spot are just separated by two games, so there's still a lot to be determined with 41 games to go.
Mason County and University of Kentucky grad Darius Miller is fitting in nicely in his second stint with New Orleans. Miller is averaging 7.5 points per game and shooting 42.7 percent from the 3-point line, good for 17th in the NBA as of Friday afternoon. He's getting his opportunities too, playing on average 21.4 minutes a game. The Pelicans currently rank seventh in 3-point shooting in the NBA, hitting 37.5 percent of their shots from beyond the arc.
After a slow start to the season in which he went scoreless in five of his first eight games, Miller has been more comfortable in his role and the play has showed. He's scored in double figures twelve times this season, including a career-high 21 against Atlanta on November 13. Over Miller's last 32 games, he's averaging 8.8 points and shooting 45.5 percent from downtown. He's knocked down a 3-pointer in 29 of those last 32 games, including multiple 3-point shots made in 23 of them.
The 27-year old forward is making the most of his opportunity, signed to a two-year deal in the offseason after playing in Germany with Brose Baskets, helping them win back-to-back titles in the German Bundesliga.
The "Pelicats" as they're often referred to around the Bluegrass due to their Kentucky basketball influence, became even more BBN crazed when the team recently signed DeAndre Liggins to a 10-day contract, putting five former Wildcats on the team. The previously mentioned Davis and Cousins along with Miller, Rajon Rondo and now Liggins.