It’s going to be a fun year, but there are a few differences in expectations.
Did your regular season predictions about the New Orleans Pelicans change following the end of preseason play? (W/L record, playoff berth/seeding?)
I never let preseason action have much of an impact on how I think the regular season will play out. I still feel as though the Pelicans will win roughly 45-50 games and end up as the 4-6 seed out West, barring any unforeseen circumstances like injury.
No, since the Julius Randle addition, I’ve said they are going to land the 5th seed and I still think that’s the correct prediction.
I still see the team finishing in the mid to high 40ish-win plateau. I think you’ll eventually see a team much improved — even considering last year’s playoff run. But the depth in the West and the impending trade deadline makes it hard to know just how much that needle will move.
If things go right, there’s enough talent on this team win 50 games. There’s also enough uncertainty and chatter for a .500 finish. I think NOLA will have a ceiling accompanied with a AD MVP run to be a top-5 team in the West to the surprise of most. But a fair standing as of now should place them in the 6-8 seed range in another down to the wire finish in the loaded Western Conference.
Nope, I don’t place any value in the glorified scrimmages that the NBA tries to pass as preseason so I haven’t changed my opinion on this season’s Pelicans. I still see them finishing in the middle of the West.
Gaining home court advantage in the playoffs feels like a good goal for this team. I think New Orleans can go as far as the Western Conference Finals with injury and matchup luck. That by no means is a lock, but I’m not really scared of any team in the West not named the Golden State Warriors. I think they finish at 51-31 and grab the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
I still have the Pelicans winning 50 games. The Pelicans will have a rought start to the season — as they always do — but General Manager Dell Demps will also make a midseason trade to upgrade talent — as he always does — and find a third guard to contribute (or Jackson will become one, whichever happens first).
The Pelicans schedule in the second half of the season gives them the ability to make a late season run just as they did one year ago, and if Anthony Davis can put his money where his mouth is, Pelicans’ fans should enjoy the second best regular season performance in the franchise’s young history.
Very slightly downgrade, but mostly for learning curve. I’m a prisoner of the moment and had extremely high expectations of the team finishing as the surprise 3 seed in the West at 52-55 wins. Now I feel the early season could have a few more growing pains to deal with and the team will be right at that 50 win threshold in the 4-6 seed hunt once more.
As I wrote a few days ago, the Pelicans decided to sleepwalk through the entire preseason and it was evident in their words, play and statistics. There’s no need for me to rehash this argument any further so please click here to read all of my thoughts on this subject.
Barring any long-term injuries to the core, the Pelicans should finish anywhere in the 3-7 range, with an accompanying win total sitting between 45 and 52 wins. Anthony Davis, a candidate for the MVP, and Jrue Holiday, a top 20-25 player in the league, will see to that. The only thing that will separating the teams in the middle of the Western Conference playoff standings will be a little more good fortune and the ability to win close games — really, almost the flip of a coin.
The bad news: the Pelicans went winless in preseason.
The good news: nobody cares about winning preseason games.
The bad news nobody wants to acknowledge: anytime a professional team takes the floor they should want to win.
I’ll still say the Pelicans will finish 6th in the west, but listen real good here, sonny: the playoffs are not a guarantee, even if this team remains healthy and plays decent. There’s just too many other good teams and all of last year’s Western Conference lottery teams got better. Denver is expected to make a jump, as are the Lakers, Grizzlies and Clippers. I even think the Suns and Kings might win more games. So, we gotta play well and get a little lucky just to make top 8.