With improved play and an increasing win total, the New Orleans Pelicans are making a push for that coveted playoff spot.
To say this is even a possibility for the New Orleans Pelicans after the 0-13 start to the season is a testament to the hard work and dedication by the players and the coaches.
The Pelicans are playing as a team, and that’s evident with the strong bench play, as Will Guillory recently pointed out in The Athletic.
The continued improvement of the young players on the roster will be a key factor in the playoff push. But what do the Pelicans need to improve upon to make the playoffs?
The Pelicans average 16 turnovers per game, ranking 28th in the league. This number needs to improve and the Pelicans need to flip the switch to having a lower turnover rate per game than their opponents, who currently average 14.3 per game.
The number one thing the average fan cannot understand is how an NBA player can miss so many free throws. The Pelicans are at 73% for the season and that ranks 27th in the league.
After a less than stellar 57.9% FT average on just 19 trips to the line against the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 6, the Pelicans were much better the next two games, with an 84% average against the Pacers on the 8th and 81.3% against the Trail Blazers on Feb. 11.
While not always something that is controllable since injuries happen, staying healthy is a key for this team to make the playoffs. Aside from the much-documented 3-month absence of Zion Williamson, the Pelicans have seen multiple absences by starters Jrue Holiday, Brandon Ingram and Derrick Favors.
While all were due to various reasons, including the personal leave Favors took to grieve the sudden loss of his mother, the Pelicans need these players on a consistent basis in order to make that playoff run.
The All-Star break gave the players a chance to recharge and rest up before the final months of the season.
If the New Orleans Pelicans can make a few of these improvements, that should result in more wins and that playoff spot.