New Orleans Pelicans: A Lesson In Chemistry from the LA Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers show the New Orleans Pelicans the importance of chemistry on championship contention

In this long and dreadful offseason, one of my favorite activities is watching the 2020 NBA Playoffs and seeing what lessons the New Orleans Pelicans can learn from contending teams. After a tantalizing second-round series, there’s one major lesson the team can learn from the Los Angeles Clippers.

For anyone who was living under a rock for this past year, the Los Angeles Clippers were one of the winners of the 2019 offseason. The team turned from rebuilding to contention a dime by adding Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard in free agency and swinging a blockbuster trade to get him a co-star in Paul George.

On top of their new superstar duo, the Clippers had championship infrastructure in Doc Rivers who’s known for coaching the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008. Add in the veterans on the Clippers roster, Patrick Beverly, Lou Williams, and Montrezl Harrell, and the Clippers were favored by many to win the title.

That didn’t happen and the reason why it didn’t is one of the biggest lessons for the New Orleans Pelicans organization going forward. The lesson is that you can’t throw together a contender without chemistry!

The Importance Of Chemistry in for the New Orleans Pelicans

Even though the Los Angeles Clippers are a superior team compared to the Denver Nuggets, they cracked. After leading the series 3 games to 1, the Los Angeles Clippers started playing like they had everything wrapped up. That’s when the Denver Nuggets started bringing pressure and the Clippers couldn’t close.

Let this be the lesson to the New Orleans Pelicans that even though they hold several assets that they could flip for superstar players, it won’t matter if there’s no team chemistry. Chemistry is one of the biggest keys to championship success, and we’ve seen that so far in the NBA bubble.

As the Los Angeles Clippers floundered out of the playoffs, teams like the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets are thriving because their cores are playing with a few years of experience. If we look historically, it’s rare that a team thrown together quickly wins, even if they are supremely talented.

Related Story: Should the Pels Trade Jrue Holiday to Denver?

Numerous teams like the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Lakers won after adding one major piece but it rarely happens when adding multiple. I look at the 2004 Lakers and the initial 2011 Miami Heat as an example.

Ironically, the only team historically that I can think of winning after being thrown together was Doc River’s 2008 Boston Celtics. You can make an argument though, that those Celtics only won because they had a preseason trip to Rome with no cellphones to build team chemistry.

The point is, chemistry is important and the New Orleans Pelicans need to recognize that. Yes, the idea of adding stars like Bradley Beal or Myles Turner to a roster of budding young stars sounds good on paper, but it means nothing if they play with no chemistry.

In fact, after seeing the Los Angeles Clippers falter, my own opinions are changing. It might be best to give the New Orleans Pelicans as currently constructed with Jrue Holiday another chance. This year’s Pelicans added so many fresh faces to the team and thanks to the pandemic, they never gelled.

Let’s give the New Orleans Pelicans a chance in 2021, we might all see that this team only needs a few minor additions on the backend to be a playoff contender after all.

Next: Ranking the Pelicans' Trade Chips