New Orleans Pelicans Team Previewby Jarbree Briggs October 9, 2021 0 comments
In the 2020-2021 NBA season, the New Orleans Pelicans finished the season with a 31-41 record for 11th in the Western Conference. Former No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson led the Pelicans and was named a first-time all-star. The team was projected to be a playoff team but failed to qualify for the third straight season. Following the season, head coach Stan Van Gundy was fired after one season.
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It was a busy offseason for the Pelicans. They started off by hiring Phoenix Suns assistant Willie Green as the new head coach. Before the draft, the Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies swapped starting centers sending Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe for Jonas Valančiūnas in a three-team trade and acquiring Devonte’ Graham from the Charlotte Hornets, Trey Murphy III (17th overall pick), and Brandon Boston (51st overall pick). This trade helped the Pelicans financially by creating a $17 million trade exception. Herbert Jones was also drafted 35th overall in the second round.
The team parted ways with starting guard Lonzo Ball sending him to the Chicago Bulls in a sign-and-trade for Garrett Temple, Tomáš Satoranský, a 2024 second-round draft pick, and cash. In free agency, the Pelicans re-signed key players Josh Hart and Willy Hernangómez.
The Starting Five
PG – Devonte’ Graham
SF – Brandon Ingram
PF- Zion Williamson
Graham will thrive in his new role with the Pelicans. He averaged 14.8 points last season with Charlotte. He’ll bring an offensive scoring upgrade compared to Ball who was more of a pass-first guard. Expect stars Williamson and Ingram to compete for all-star spots and bring the energy needed for New Orleans to compete for a playoff spot. Alexander-Walker will be the X-factor and expect a career year in his new starting guard role.
The bench will be very fast pace with a very young roster. Hart and Hernangómez will lead the bench and bring a much-needed scoring off the bench. Hart shows his potential as a three-and-d player and crashing the boards from averaging 8.0 rebounds last season. The Pelicans have the youngest teams in the NBA with an average age of 24 years old. It will be a very competitive season as these players will compete for minutes which could lead to success on the court.
One Potential Move to Make
New Orleans could be interested in a Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards. Beal has been in trade rumors for a couple of seasons. Beal has been adamant about parting ways as the all-star guard has been loyal to the franchise. Bringing in Beal would be an upgrade that would give New Orleans a chance to compete for the playoffs. To make this trade possible New Orleans would maybe have to give up multiple first-round picks and two young players other than Zion and Brandon.
It’s going to be an interesting season for the Pelicans. Rumors have been swirling about Williamson wanting out. It’s not a surprise that a New Orleans star wants out the team hasn’t made progress since trading Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s an expectation the Pelicans will be tough for the Western Conference. Expect New Orleans to battle for a play in tournament spot.
Season Prediction: 42-40 and Third the Southwest Division
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Main Image Credit: From WKRG