The New Orleans Pelicans have made the playoffs just once in the last six seasons and coach Alvin Gentry has a winning percentage of 39 percent his first two years. While it is tough to compete in the Western Conference and 30 or more wins each of the last four seasons isn’t terrible, there has to be a sense of urgency while Anthony Davis is still young. It’d be nice to see New Orleans have a breakthrough season with two of the biggest stars on its team.
Here is your New Orleans Pelicans 2017 NBA preview.
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Key Player Losses: The Pelicans kept nearly their entire team together but did end up trading Tim Frazier to the Washington Wizards. Frazier has shown flashes of being an offensive spark and can hold his own defensively, but he’s just a career 40.3 percent shooter from the field and 31.6 percent from three. In order to get more consistent NBA minutes, Frazier has to improve those percentages.
Key Player Additions: Rajon Rondo ends up on his fourth different team since his Boston Celtics run came to an end, and it’s no secret what he brings to the table. Rondo is one of the smartest and best passers we’ve seen in this league in quite some time. Having a guy like Rondo come off the bench and lead the second unit is huge and does improve this squad. We’re talking about somebody who led the league in assists on a bad Sacramento Kings team. However, many consider Rondo a cancer and things can go sour quickly if he gets upset for whatever reason. I still like the pickup for the Pelicans who need talent wherever they can find it.
Draft: Frank Jackson is capable of playing point guard or shooting guard, and he brings quickness and a reliable jump shot to the table. Jackson shot shot 47.3 percent from the field and 39.2 percent from three in one season with the Duke Blue Devils. With the lack of guard depth on this Pelicans team, Jackson could see considerable minutes as a rookie.
Outlook: The Pelicans have two stars in Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, but we didn’t see enough success in the second half of last year to suggest these two can produce wins on their own. You need shooters to space the floor with these two guys on the court, and besides Jrue Holiday, there’s just not enough to get excited about. This feels like a season where Cousins and Davis are going to end up killing themselves nightly to try to keep the Pelicans afloat in the loaded West. I’m rooting for these two and hope things workout, but it’s tough seeing this squad make a big enough jump to reach the postseason.