Some takes from last night and looking forward to the season (1 Viewer)

socbe7

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Well, it's officially NBA season again. The Pels opened up their preseason last night at Atlanta. Here are some of my takeaways from last night:

Jrue Holiday - I've long been a huge Holiday supporter and felt he's a top two or three defender in the league, regardless of position. He's been playing at an all-star level, but without team success, it was hard to make a case for two players from the Pelicans making the all-star game, and he was always overshadowed by AD. While the addition of Zion gets us on the national stage, the team is clearly Jrue's and he will shine in the limelight.

True to form, Jrue was the best player on the floor last night. He was the leading scorer, made plays for others and was his usual world class defender.

Zion - This is who everyone truly wanted to see, and for good reason: he's a physical specimen. Last night was essentially a glimpse of what we can expect from Zion all year. He's at his best in the natural flow of the game. He doesn't need and shouldn't get a ton of plays specifically called for him. He's unstoppable as a slasher when his teammates penetrate and find him. He's a good offensive rebounder and will draw a lot of fouls, hopefully putting us in the penalty early in quarters. His free throw shooting will continue to improve throughout the year, but he will not be a threat as a mid or long range shooter. The good news is, he doesn't need to be in order to be effective. He can average 16-18 ppg just in the natural flow of a game.

Defensively, he's capable of making highlight blocks, but contrary to popular opinion, he has so much to learn to become a plus defender in this league. Luckily, he'll be on the floor with Jrue and other plus defenders like Lonzo and Favors so you have to expect improvement as the year progresses.

Speaking of Lonzo, multiple videos were posted from training camp with his new release. Like most, I was waiting to see if it translated to the game. So far so good. He was confident (clearly given a green light by Gentry) and effective. Only time will tell if it's sustainable, but it was promising to see. His length and awareness make him a great complementary defender to Jrue in the backcourt.

Brandon Ingram - Before last night, he hadn't played a real game since March. Naturally, he was a little rusty in the first half, but settled in nicely in the third quarter. It's tough to gauge how he'll fit in with this team. While his length is beneficial as a wing defender, offensively we may be better off with a three guard lineup when Jrue and Lonzo are on the floor together (with JJ or Moore) and allow BI to play with the bench as the primary scorer when he's in the game.

Melli - he'll be a fan favorite. He does a lot of the dirty work, knows how to play the game and doesn't force things. He's a good shooter and can help space the floor as a 5.

Derrick Favors - he didn't play much as he is nursing a hamstring, so we didn't learn much from him last night. With that said, as a veteran, we essentially know what we're getting.

Jah Okafor - he's very intriguing. What he gives up defensively, he can make up for offensively. During a scoring drought, he's a guy you can throw the ball to in the post and ask you to get some buckets. He was also a monster on the offensive glass last night, but some of that was because the Atlanta's bigs apparently forgot how to box out.

NAW - he's one of my favorites. He'll be the primary backup point guard and his minutes should continue to increase as the year goes on. He's a good shooter and can find open teammates. His biggest knock early on will be turnovers, but as with any rookie, he needs to learn what he can get away with in the NBA. As he gains experience, he should be able to clean that up.

JJ - he'll be the same JJ he's been basically been his entire career. True floor spacer, excellent moving without the ball.

Moore - same as before... veteran leader, three point threat.

Ultimately, this team has a lot of depth and unless a few guys truly separate themselves, our best bet may be to go with the "hot" hand, which could vary game to game.
 

wnelson

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like I said on pelicans report.... if we play every game with the intensity of the atl game we will get between 48-52 wins. that is bananas!
 

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