Predicting the New Orleans Pelicans’ Regular Seasonby John Devereaux July 21, 2020 0 comments
The New Orleans Pelicans are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the NBA. Even when Zion Williamson was out due to an injury, the team still had many talented young players on the floor. Currently, the Pelicans trail the eighth-seeded Grizzlies by 3.5 games. But now that they have Williamson back alongside a roster loaded with young scorers and veteran leadership, it will be fun to watch them fight to make the playoffs.
July 30th vs. Utah Jazz: Win
Williamson is among the most hyped young players in the league, and for good reason. The Pelicans didn’t appear to be a playoff team without him, going 17-28. With him on the floor, New Orleans had a winning record of 11-8 that eventually made them eligible for the bubble in Orlando. Nobody on the Jazz will be able to stop Zion, not even Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert.
August 1st vs. Los Angeles Clippers: Loss
Here is a team that can stop Williamson. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both top 10 defenders in the league, so Williamson will have to work twice as hard to produce. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram will have to take another step forward to even make this game close.
August 3rd vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Win
Many have already written off Lonzo Ball as a bust, but that’s ridiculous. Ball is one of the best passers in the NBA in terms of accuracy, vision and IQ. His shooting has also reached the league average, especially in catch-and-shoot situations, and that improvement is another reason why the Pelicans bounced back from an awful start to the season. The young point guard will be able to defend Ja Morant in this game, so he won’t have to focus on offensive production.
August 6th vs. Sacramento Kings: Win
Many overlook the depth of the Pelicans. They have one of the most talented rosters in the league. The only difference between them and the Los Angeles Clippers is that they have many more young players. The Kings are in the same boat, but the Pelicans have more veterans to lead them like Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors. De’Aaron Fox and Ball will have a back-and-forth matchup in this one.
August 7th vs Washington Wizards: Win
The Washington Wizards will be in rough shape during their time in Orlando. When the NBA announced that they would be continuing the season with 22 teams, many thought that John Wall would be able to finally return. However, that was not the case, as Wall decided to continue rehab for his injury. The Wizards will also be without Bradley Beal. The absence of these two stars will leave the door wide open for a Pelicans win.
August 9th vs. San Antonio Spurs: Loss
Gregg Popovich will teach this young Pelicans team a few things when it comes to making a late run for the playoffs. New Orleans’ inexperienced team with only three reliable veterans will struggle against arguably the greatest coach of all time. The Spurs will use this game to try to ruin another one of their opponent’s playoff hopes.
August 11th vs. Sacramento Kings: Loss
Back-to-back losses could be detrimental for this New Orleans squad. Alvin Gentry and his players want the eighth seed, but this game against the Kings could be troublesome because it’s hard to sweep a team in the regular season. The Kings will bounce back from their earlier loss, and the Pelicans will have to find a way to rebound from this one.
August 13th vs. Orlando Magic: Win
Consecutive losses can change a locker room’s mentality. These young players still have a lot to prove, and making the playoffs would be beneficial for their careers. Holiday, Favors, and J.J Redick are the only Pelicans to have made the postseason before, so the Pelicans will need their younger guys to step up. Ball, Williamson and Ingram will show up for this game and earn a big win that could result in a playoff berth.
The Pelicans will finish the rest of the season with a 5-3 record, which could be enough to make the playoffs or at least force a play-in series with the eighth seed.
The Pelicans are the best team in the bubble currently out of the playoffs, and they’d probably be in playoff position if Williamson had started the season off healthy. Nonetheless, New Orleans will have eight games of basketball to reach the playoffs.