New Orleans Pelicans: Lottery odds at midseason look tempting

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

If you haven’t figured it out yet, the New Orleans Pelicans are still rebuilding.

A lot of us had high expectations coming into the season, especially after the Pelicans added veterans Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe to a  team that narrowly missed the playoffs last year.

With Zion Williamson emerging as one of the best players in the NBA, the Pelicans were on everyone’s list of teams that could make a big leap.

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But this is still a very young team with a new coach and a roster that is not close to complete or ready to compete with the best teams in the Western Conference.

After the first half of the season, the lottery is starting to look a lot more likely than the playoffs, which is something the fans should probably prepare for and even embrace.

Here is where the New Orleans Pelicans stand at the midway point.

New Orleans Pelicans: What are the Pelicans’ lottery odds at midseason?

The Pelicans currently have the 8th-worst record in the NBA, which gives them a 5.3 percent chance at the number one pick and a 23.5 percent chance to land in the top four of the 2021 NBA Draft.

This should be a bit embarrassing to be honest, as they are sandwiched between two teams in the Wizards and Thunder that knew they were tanking coming into the season. But after dropping six of their last ten, the Pels find themselves with the tankers even though they are actually trying to win, which is not a great place to be.

There is still time for the Pels to turn things around, as they are only four games back of the 8th seed, but the chance to add another top-five pick to this core is starting to look pretty tempting.

The Pels could end up trading several of their veterans and even some of their young guys in order to keep falling in the standings, which might not be the worst plan given their current position and need for additional talent all over the roster.

The New Orleans Pelicans aren’t going to lose games on purpose as long as Stan Van Gundy draws breath, but they might use some “creative” roster management to ensure they keep losing games, especially with a 2nd-half schedule that looks brutal in March.

We will know a lot more by the end of the month but the lottery is starting to look like a real possibility and the fans should probably adjust their expectations accordingly.

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