Are The New Orleans Pelicans A Playoff Team?
I've never been excited about New Orleans Pelicans basketball. I guess I've been excited about Anthony Davis highlight packages, sweet logos, and crazy baby mascots. But the idea of the team being a good sports franchise has never really excited me.
At least until this past off-season.
When the Pelicans traded for DeMarcus Cousins at the trade-deadline last year, there was a spark. I wondered if this franchise was actually going to try and compete. Then in the off-season they locked in Jrue Holiday, and added Rajon Rondo. Moves that made this team start to look like a mild super-team.
But what has all of that excitement brought to New Orleans? As of this morning, they're 6-6 through their first 12 games, and that's after going on a three game road winning streak over the last 10 days, before losing to Toronto last night. But, if you look at last years first 12 games, the team was 2-10...so 6-6 actually looks really good right now.
But here's the other thing, all of the work the Pelicans have been putting in, has been done short-handed.
They've been dealing with injuries to Rondo, Solomon Hill, and rookie Frank Jackson. After the draft, there were some hopes that Jackson would quickly morph into an NBA starter, if not All Star. But Jackson had to undergo a second foot surgery in the off season, and will likely miss this year. Rondo had to have hernia surgery, and will be back soon. Hill will miss most (if not all) of the season after hamstring surgery.
But Rondo's return coming, it will allow other players to return to their regular positions, and some of the players that have been forced into the starting lineup will deepen the Pelicans bench. Meaning that this team is about to get a lot better, with reinforcements already on the way.
The Pelicans could actually be a good NBA team. Even more, this team could be a playoff contender. All they have to do is keep beating up on bad teams, and keep stealing some home wins from some of the NBA's top teams.
We really could be on the edge of seeing a New Orleans Pelicans playoff home game for the first time since 2015, or the first New Orleans Pelicans playoff win EVER...because the last Nola playoff win came under the Hornets name.