New Orleans Pelicans will be competitive sooner than you might expect

New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)
New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The 2018-2019 New Orleans Pelicans’ season will be looked back on as a disappointment, but there have been plenty of positives to take away that point to a bright future.

With five games left in the regular season, the New Orleans Pelicans’ efforts this year will soon come to a halt. On paper, it has not been a great year for the franchise. There have been bright spots here and there to be sure, but the general consensus around the league will be that New Orleans had a bad 2018-2019 campaign.

Clearly, there’s an argument for having this belief about the Pelicans. Anthony Davis wants out. General Manager Dell Demps got fired, and there’s still uncertainty as to who will take over in his place. Any hopes of making the postseason have been dead for a while now. Looking at all of this, it can be hard to keep a positive mindset about the direction of the franchise.

However, New Orleans Pelicans fans should remain hopeful despite all of this. NBA Twitter wants you to think that Owner Gayle Benson would be open to selling and/or moving the team, but she’s made it clear in recent interviews that she has absolutely zero desire to do anything like that. She is committed to New Orleans and wants the city to have an NBA team they can be proud of.

If the owner is this committed to her team, good things eventually will fall into place, and this will hopefully start with the hiring of a competent GM that knows how to rebuild a roster for instant competitiveness. In addition to getting a major haul in return for Anthony Davis, hiring the right GM can get this team back on track immediately.

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It’s no secret that the New Orleans Pelicans will live and die for the next several years based largely on what type of team they are able to put together with any assets from the incoming AD trade that will likely happen this summer. The Celtics seem to be open to including Jayson Tatum in a trade package, and Boston could include several other assets that would benefit New Orleans greatly.

If a team like the New York Knicks snag the top overall pick and are open to sending that to the Pels for AD, then New Orleans can draft Zion Williamson from Duke and be relevant again as soon as he’s drafted. Other teams will show interest in Davis to be sure (looking at you, Denver), so the Pelicans should have no shortage of options.

Whoever ultimately ends up in the Big Easy will join a team that has shown many signs of life in spite of all of the drama this season. Even with Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday both missing a decent chunk of games, the New Orleans Pelicans still rank third in the NBA in points, fifth in field goal percentage, and third in assists. It’s a little surprising, but the Pels actually are lighting it up on offense and have been all season long.

Clearly, these numbers take a hit when you remove Anthony Davis from the picture, but New Orleans will still have the consistently awesome Jrue Holiday to run the team through, as well as a slew of young guys that keep showing their promising potential. There are some big decisions to be made in free agency regarding some of these players (like Julius Randle), but enough of the young core will be intact to be excited about (including Christian Wood, who is currently killing it).

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Several things will have to fall into place for the New Orleans Pelicans over the next few months, but there are enough positive things going on to realistically believe that this organization can get things turned around as early as next season. It all begins this summer as the team hires a GM, trades Anthony Davis, and navigates their most important NBA Draft in years. Here’s to hoping it all goes as planned.