New Orleans Pelicans’ loss in Indiana should be blueprint going forward

New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In a loss to the Indiana Pacers last night, the New Orleans Pelicans implemented a strategy we will hopefully see continued for the rest of the season.

The New Orleans Pelicans came out swinging last night as they took on the Pacers in Indianapolis. The team seemed to be clicking on all cylinders fresh off the All-Star Break and had a commanding 71-58 lead going into halftime. The second half, however, was a completely different story as the Pelicans wound up falling to the Pacers 111-126 when all was said and done.

In short, this is probably exactly what we should expect to see from the Pelicans for the remaining 22 games this season, and that’s a good thing. Interim GM Danny Ferry made it clear at the tail-end of the All-Star Break that Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday would be limited going forward. For Davis, this is to keep him healthy for an impending trade. For Holiday, it’s simply because he’s been used a ton this year, and there’s no reason to continue that trend if the Pelicans don’t need to win more games right now anyway.

For lack of a better word, the New Orleans Pelicans have started tanking. This is a tough pill to swallow for some, but it’s the right call. There’s no reason to risk the long-term health of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday when there’s a slim-to-none chance the Pelicans will make the playoffs anyway.

This new strategy also ensures that the Pelicans’ young prospects gain more valuable playing time to develop into players of the future for the team. It also allows the Pelicans a chance to end up with a Top 10 draft pick this summer.

Losing games isn’t necessarily fun, but it can be the right move sometimes. Last night in Indiana, Davis was appeased by still playing at all, but was pulled after 20 minutes and didn’t see the floor in the fourth quarter. Holiday logged 25 minutes, meager by his standards. In fact, the only starter that played over 30 minutes was Kenrich Williams, a young player that the Pelicans hope is a big part of their future core.

Several young guys off the bench last night got meaningful minutes, including Cheick Diallo who finished with a very impressive 16 points and 18 rebounds. Clearly, giving some of Davis’ and Holiday’s minutes to typically underplayed members of the team could be a great long-term benefit for the New Orleans Pelicans in the very near future.

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The New Orleans Pelicans will continue to figure things out as they go for the remainder of the year, but last night showed that the team is taking their future seriously. It might feel strange to be optimistic about a loss, but the team still displayed enough positives to be proud of, got young guys some important minutes, and kept their Top 10 draft pick hopes alive.