The New Orleans Pelicans have been busy the past couple of weeks. They traded Anthony DavisAnthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the Lakers’ fourth pick and two future first round picks. Yesterday, the Pelicans drafted Zion Williamson with the number one pick in the draft and they are in a great position heading into next season.
A fresh start for the Pelicans will let them rebuild and plan for the future. And it helps when you have the best pieces in the NBA to do so. Drafting the best player with the number pick helps and the Pelicans got a lot back for Davis. So now is a good time to assess just how good this Pelicans team is.
Ball, Ingram and Hart are all great players that will turn into splendid role players in a few years when Williamson comes into his own. Until then, they will be the ones leading the team and we have seen signs of a great team when they play. Ball has great court vision and he plays excellent defense. Pairing him with Jrue Holiday will gave the Pelicans the best back-court defense in the league.
Now, let’s turn to the offense and the Pelicans actually aren’t too bad there. They have Ingram, Holiday and Hart for offensive production and Williamson will average at least 16 points in his rookie year. The problem for the Pelicans is going to be their bench. Too much of the Pelicans’ investment is in these young core players and future draft picks. If the Pelicans can sign a few good backup players, they might be in a good position to play for a playoff spot.
So will the new-look Pelicans make the playoffs? While the team is going to be good and has potential, they will most likely not make the playoffs. It’s not that they aren’t good but the competition is just too much at this point. There are 11 teams in the mix in the Western Conference (the Memphis Grizzlies, The Phoenix Suns and the Dallas Mavericks aren’t in the mix in my opinion) and the Pelicans won’t be able to overcome that level of competition.
When Williamson gets better, the Pelicans can crack into that mix and that may be in two years considering how good Williamson already is. Two years isn’t that long of a wait and that’s without knowing who the Pelicans will draft in the near future. It’s a nice time to be a Pelicans fan. They lost Davis and got Williamson in a span of two weeks.