The New Orleans Pelicans certainly aren’t the best team in the dominant Western Conference; they’re not even in the top eight. It may be true that this team lacks the defensive capability to become a true playoff contender, but keep in mind the rebuild taking place in New Orleans is still in its very early stages.
The Pelicans are currently 5-10 (14 in the Western Conference & fifth in the Southwest Division), giving up approximately 112 points per game to their opponents, but now is not the time to lose hope or jump ship. The Pelicans find themselves in a position where they simply must trust the process.
This is not the time to panic, this is only the beginning, quite literally. The Pels are the fourth-youngest team in the NBA. It’s very easy to see the promise this team has with Zion Willamson’s (20) consistency for his first full year as a starter, to Brandon Ingram (23) who is en route to his first All-Star appearance, not to mention a supporting cast of Lonzo Ball (23), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (22), Kira Lewis Jr. (19), and Jaxson Hayes (20). This is a core that hasn’t been playing in the NBA or even together for a long time.
To quote the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama:
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
In order to make the change the team desperately wants, it will take not one but everybody to go all in with Stan Van Gundy’s coaching philosophy.
The past five games have been rough on the Pelicans, but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Although the Pelicans are still trying to find that defensive consistency over these past five games, Van Gundy is impressed by the growth he’s seeing on the offensive end.
“We’ve played really good defensive teams and in that five game stretch we’re 11th in league offensively.”
The best case in point might be their 43-point first quarter against the Utah Jazz. You can clearly see that this team is starting to find its identity offensively. As the season progresses, who knows how well they will continue to work together and build the mindset that is needed to get back on defense, get some stops and start showing the league that they are here to stay.
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