The young New Orleans Pelicans need to treat The Last Dance like school because there are plenty of things they can learn.
Even though the NBA is in hiatus, there is still a lot for the New Orleans Pelicans to do.
With the NBA suspended indefinitely, there is a chance that the New Orleans Pelicans’ season is over, though there are still options on the table.
It has been nostalgic and fun to re-visit the Jordan era, as many of the New Orleans Pelicans weren’t even alive when Jordan was winning titles with the Bulls.
The Jordan-era Bulls had one of the longest sustained runs of success in the NBA and there is plenty to learn from their experience, especially with the players now having the benefit of hindsight.
Hopefully the New Orleans Pelicans are watching and taking notes, as there is a lot they can learn about putting teams away, building a roster and the cruelty of windows.
The New Orleans Pelicans Need a Killer Instinct
One of the defining characteristics from The Last Dance Chicago Bulls is that they knew how to put teams away.
Obviously Jordan was a huge part of this, as he was never afraid to take the last shot and always seemed to come up big in the pressure-filled moments.
But it was really the Bulls’ defense that put nails in many teams’ coffins. People remember Jordan’s last shot in 1998, but watch the defense the leads to it. Dennis Rodman is bodying Karl Malone and Jordan comes to help and get the steal.
If you watched the Bulls during that era, then you know they had an uncanny ability to make big plays in the clutch. The steal from Malone, the group block of Charles Smith; the Bulls knew how to step on the other team’s neck.
The New Orleans Pelicans currently lack this killer instinct. While the Bulls would often come up with a big block or steal in the clutch and then bury the shot on the other end, the Pelicans are still learning how to put teams away.
The New Orleans Pelicans are 28th in the NBA in both offense and defense in the clutch.
“Clutch” time is basically just the last five minutes of close games. The Pelicans often build big leads only to give them away and have faltered in these “clutch” scenarios.
While the Bulls’ intensity and effectiveness increased as the game slowed down, the Pelicans seem to wilt under the pressure when they are stuck in half court sets late in the game.
Part of this is just youth, as the New Orleans Pelicans don’t have many guys who have been in these situations frequently.
What they can learn from watching The Last Dance is that focus must increase to laser intensity when the game slows down. This means not throwing silly passes, trying for spectacular alley-oops or throwing up contested hero-ball shots.
The New Orleans Pelicans need to get better at putting teams away, and hopefully watching The Last Dance will show them what it takes.