Preview of the NBA 2021-22 season: about New Orleans Pelicans. Data, results from the previous season, a look at their squad and future free agents, the objectives of the course, the player to watch and a forecast on the franchise.
New Orleans Pelicans
- Market movements: renewals of Josh Hart and Willy Hernangómez, arrivals of Devonte Graham, Tomas Satoransky, Garret Temple (sign-and-trade all) and Jonas Valanciunas (transfer). Lonzo Ball, Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe departures (all moves here).
- Backcourt: Devonte’ Graham, Tomas Satoransky, Josh Hart, Garret Temple, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kira Lewis Jr.
- Frontcourt: Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas, Jaxson Hayes, Willy Hernangómez, Trey Murphy III, Herb Jones, Wenyen Gabriel.
This is how they face the season
After a disappointing season again, the Pelicans will once again try to oxygenate their project and, finally, reach the goal of entering the fight for the playoffs. Stan Van Gundy’s old-school experiment with a group of markedly young talent never finished working, and statements from Zion’s surroundings about his discomfort in the franchise have set off alarms. Whether or not these signs are real, the sure thing is that in the organization they are seen with water up to their necks and have already acted urgently to try to satisfy their star in the short term.
The 2020-21 season began with a strange squad construction, which divested itself of shooters who opened the court to bet on Steven Adams. An inner presence that would further suffocate Zion’s space near the area.
The solution proposed by Van Gundy was to give the ball to Williamson so that he could find ways to the basket from the boat, starting from the outside and not from the inside. His enormous talent has led to great growth in the creation of opportunities both for him and for the rest, but he found an insurmountable asterisk. In a season that began with his renewal for the maximum after being All-Star, Brandon Ingram was the biggest casualty of the new Pelicans structure.
Despite almost tracing his statistical line from the previous year, Ingram has ended up weighing much less in the future of the team. The feeling that emanated was that, in the team of quarterback Williamson, the forward played his own game on the sidelines without anyone being able to unite the southern team. Although any positive note was squandered by the poor defensive performance of a team that never played as such.
Willie Green makes his head coach debut in a franchise that, having lost a good player like Lonzo Ball, has built a more consistent roster than it did a year ago. A priori, Jonas Valanciunas improves on Steven Adams and provides a not inconsiderable outside shooting quota. Your new team will probably ask you to return to a figure above the triple attempt per game. In the same vein, the hiring of Devonte ‘Graham, who shoots 8.7 triples per night, is above 37% correct, in addition to being able to adapt to the fast pace that the Pelicans will seek starting with or without the ball. If anything, a step back in almost every respect from Ball.
Satoransky, Temple and the Josh Hart renewal point to the immediate search for competitive security. With quintet and rotations still in the air, it is interesting to see if Green is betting on providing his outside line with more defensive amalgam or he ends up being carefree. Although the main challenge of the technician is to make Ingram and Williamson build the synergies that allow them to be a de facto couple in the immediate future.
Player to watch
Heading into this new season, Zion Williamson’s New Orleans Pelicans have lost a lot of presence in the number of broadcasts nationwide and in appointments marked on the calendar. The prodigy of Duke’s ex remains an undeniable attraction, but is in danger of losing relevance as his losing track rises.
The plan seems obvious: clear any doubts by starting to add victories from now on. The path to its achievement already leaves more chiaroscuro. Zion being a production machine, he will begin his third season still without knowing for sure what type of player he is. It also doesn’t help to have had three different coaches since landing in the league.
This same year, more or less since February, his creative side has undergone an overwhelming leap, becoming the player with the highest use of the squad and that most actions of pick-and-roll and rinsed uses. But their renewed role and statistical increase has not been reflected at all in the good work of the team, which has maintained its usual win / loss rate.
Now it is up to Willie Green to decide if the new signings give him to make this new Zion a winning argument or if he has to accommodate him in another way within the system and give him less ball. For now, in his first statements he has leaked that his intention is to build a somewhat more choral attack that does not depend so much on generating imbalance from one against one. Be that as it may, being a spectator of Williamson’s evolution will continue to be one of the season’s biggest draws.
NBA preview 2021-22 New Orleans Pelicans, prediction
Elio Martínez, director of Trends Wide, leaves a personal and subjective forecast on what he thinks each franchise will do during the season in the NBA 2021-22 preview.
New Orleans is one of the teams that I have clearer where to place in the forecast. By elimination more than anything. It is neither in the group of the eight best of the conference nor in the three worst. Taking into account that there are two All-Stars on the squad and that it is difficult for them to do worse than in the last two years, a tenth place to fight in the play-in seems to me a safe bet within the null certainty that there is in the art of predicting the future.
Previous team reviewed: Toronto Raptors. Next team: Chicago Bulls.
(Cover photo by Christian Petersen / Getty Images)