NBA Team Preview: New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are trying to take that next step as a franchise as they ended the 2020-21 season 11th in the Western Conference with a 31-41 record to miss the Western Conference play-in game. They decided to hire first-time head coach Willie Green to try to guide the franchise in correct direction after making a few trades to try and make the postseason.
They have a lot of draft capital as they are attempting to develop a group of talent around their forwards Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. New Orleans last made the playoffs in 2018 when they lost to the Golden State Warriors in the Conference SemiFinals.
The New Orleans Pelicans are not a free agent destination as they did not add a single player from there. Instead, they made a couple of trades in the offseason and received Devonte’ Graham from the Charlotte Hornets, Jonas Valanciunas from the Memphis Grizzlies, and both Tomas Satoransky and Garrett Temple from the Chicago Bulls.
They ended up getting two players from the 2021 NBA Draft as well as they acquired small forward Trey Murphy in the trade with the Memphis Grizzlies as well as drafting guard Herbert Jones with the 35th overall pick. In addition, they hired Willie Green to become their newest head coach.
The Pelicans had an impactful offseason as they lost a handful of contributors from their franchise. They decided to trade away Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls, Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe to the Memphis Grizzlies, Wes Iwundu to the Charlotte Hornets, and James Johnson to the Brooklyn Nets. They lost a lot of talent in the backcourt with Ball and Bledsoe as well as some rim protection in Adams. They need to hope some people hit if they want to take the next step in their rebuild.
Another subtraction was the firing of head coach Stan Van Gundy as he went 31-41 in his 72 games with the team between 2020-2021.
When you mention the New Orleans Pelicans, one name immediately jumps to mind: power forward Zion Williamson. He finished last season averaging 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 0.9 steals per game in 33.2 minutes. Another key player is small Forward Brandon Ingram, who has become the perfect second option on the Pelicans. He finished last season with 34.3 minutes played and averaged 23.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.9 assists.
An up-and-coming player that has the potential to be a nice piece for the franchise is center Jaxson Hays, a 21-year old who was the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. He averaged 16.1 minutes and had 7.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 0.6 assists. Having a veteran big-man like Valanciunas will help his development along.
Odds for 2021-22 NBA Season
The odds have the New Orleans Pelicans making the play-in tournament as they have a win total of 39.5 this season. That would make them the 10th seed if the season ended like this and it’s going to be hard expecting the Pelicans to win that many games. They won 31 games in 2020-21 but this team also took a step back in the backcourt with the departures of Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe.
Defensively this team isn’t good either as they ranked 23rd with a 113.8 adjusted defensive rating last season. They also shot 72.9 percent from the free-throw line as a team, which was 29th in the NBA. New Orleans needs to correct their mistakes if they want to be a good team but for now, with their talent and the solid teams encompassing the Western Conference, go with under 39.5 wins.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.