Just two months ago, the Pelicans were rumored to be trading veterans like Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, and JJ Redick to playoff teams in exchange for more assets to throw themselves even deeper into a complete overhaul.
But out of the blue, it’s like the Pelicans looked at general manager David Griffin and did their best Lee Corso impression. “Not so fast, my friend.”
The Pelicans went 11-5 from mid-December to mid-January, and they began to look like a legitimate NBA basketball team. This convinced management to let us, the viewers, have some fun and let our lord and savior, Zion Williamson, into the lineup.
Zion’s debut seemed a bit slow, but he hit the NBA world just as we expected, although he may have shown up fashionably late to his first appearance. Zion is playing like an MVP candidate when you look at his efficiency, and it is astounding to think about just how good this team has been without him, but the world doesn’t understand just what is happening yet.
Since Zion returned, the Pelicans starting 5 of Ball, Holiday, Ingram, Williamson, and Favors has a net rating of 26.3. This means that they outscore teams by 26 points in every 100 possessions, which is absolutely INSANE.
They average 117.9 points, that’s over 2 points better than the Mavericks, who have the best offense in the league. Defense? They are 10 points better than the Bucks, the best defense in the league. This stuff is nuts.
This team has two lock down defensive guards, a very long 3, the most athletic player in the world at the 4 or the 5, and a mixture of spark plug Josh Hart, Derrick Favors, and the sharpshooters that are JJ Redick and Nicolo Melli. They can play with any team build.
At the beginning of the year, all of the haters were worried about “spacing.” Lonzo “can’t shoot” Ball is shooting 43% from 3 in his last 22 games, and he averages six three-point attempts a game.
Lonzo is 8th in 3pt % of players with more than 10 games and more than five threes a game out of about 100 players during that span. In his last five games, Ball is averaging 21/8/8 with two steals while shooting 53% from the floor and 51% from three while taking almost nine threes a game.
Brandon Ingram was a poor 3 point shooter too. How about now? 39%. This is the 5th best shooting team in the league. Spacing is a non-issue.
This team also beats shitty teams like a great team. Here are there losses since Christmas: Mavericks (OT), Timberwolves (only bad loss), Lakers (x3), Thunder, Bucks, Clippers, Spurs, Jazz and Celtics. Only 3 were double-digit losses, and two of those were without Zion, and one was without Favors, Holiday, AND Zion.
Take a gander at their schedule for a minute and try to find the tough games left. There are 3???? games that they shouldn’t be favored in, and they actually may be favored over the Jazz just like they were favored over a healthy Miami team last week.
This team is an absolute monster, and they will give every single team they play a run for their money. Playoff odds are tough to find but bet them anywhere at any logical price if you can find odds. This team is going to be in Los Angeles early in the postseason.
Do you want to have some real fun? Hop on board with me and bet them at +6600 to win the West. I would legitimately take the Pelicans to beat anyone not named the Lakers or the Clippers, but I think that they will take multiple games off of either. They do have the roster to beat them, especially if there is just one injury.
Come along as we follow our lord and savior, Zion Williamson, to the promised land.