We still have a lot to learn about the New Orleans Pelicans.
Three games into the bubble season for the New Orleans Pelicans, there was some good, a lot of bad, and more ugly than any of us really anticipated. Expectations were high, maybe unfairly.
At 1-2 in the first three of the bubble games, the Pels are still in the hunt for the playoffs after most of the teams they are chasing started slowly as well.
There are still some things that we don’t know about the Pelicans. Who is the long-term solution at center? Who can the Pelicans get to play defense on the wing? Do they have a backup point guard? Is Lonzo Ball a max player?
We won’t have the answers to these questions until the offseason, but in many ways, the Pelicans have provided a lot more questions than answers in the three games in the bubble.
However, after just three games, there are some things we do know about the Pelicans, and these things will help guide their future decisions.
So, what have we learned so far? Let’s take a look.
Defense is still a liability.
Sure, there are flashes of great defense, especially by the King of D, Jrue Holiday. But overall, it’s still a weakness for the Pels and to make any type of run, the defense has got to be better.
In the first game they gave up 56 points in the paint to the Jazz, and in the second game the Clippers made 25 three-pointers, so it is hard to say where the Pelicans’ defense is weakest.
The Pelicans’ roster is imbalanced, they have too many guards and not enough forwards, which became evident against the Clippers, whose wings shot effortlessly over the smaller Pels’ guards.
They have to get bigger at the power forward position, find a center who can protect the rim more effectively and get a wing who can defend the position without giving up six inches or sixty pounds.
Is there enough time to fix the defense? Probably not fully, but definitely there are adjustments that can be made over the next 5 games.
Gentry should tighten up his rotations, get Josh Hart more playing time and try to avoid lineups that don’t have a big man in them.
Any improvements made during this eight game stretch will bode well for next season. And you can bet David Griffin and the rest of the front office will be watching as they try to patch up the holes in this roster for next season.