New Orleans Pelicans: Knicks have given Pels a blueprint for success

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Steven Adams
New Orleans Pelicans, Steven Adams /

There haven’t been many times in NBA history when teams would be wise to follow the example of the New York Knicks, but right now, that is exactly what the New Orleans Pelicans should do.

The Knicks and Pelicans are at similar stages as franchises, as both are rebuilding around young talent and hoping to find sustained success after hiring veteran coaches to lead young teams.

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The Knicks are currently the 6th-seed in the Eastern Conference and are one step ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans, who are on the outside looking in and hope to use the controversial play-in tournament to find a back door into the playoffs.

Look, it’s not like the Knicks are a real contender, but they have improved and taken the next step in a rebuild, which is to get into the playoffs.

The Pelicans might be one season away, but the Knicks have given them a blueprint for how to get there.

New Orleans Pelicans: Similarities with the Knicks

Before we get into how the Knicks improved, let’s take a look at some of the many similarities between the two teams.

Both are coming off sustained losing and hired veteran coaches to try and set up long-term success. The Pelicans hired Stan Van Gundy and the Knicks Tom Thibodeau, defensive-minded coaches who are trying to instill good habits into young teams.

Both teams are built around versatile, playmaking forwards in Julius Randle and Zion Williamson. Though Williamson gets a little more attention, it is Randle who is likely to take home the Most Improved Player award.

Both teams have talented wings in Brandon Ingram and RJ Barrett, promising rookies in Immanuel Quickley and Kira Lewis Jr. and both have veteran big men patrolling the lane.

The Knicks have only won four more games than the Pels this season and if the Pels were in the Eastern Conference, this might be reversed, but either way, the Knicks are likely headed to the playoffs and the Pels aren’t.

So how did the Knicks do it? Let’s take a look.