The New Orleans Pelicans are currently missing out on the furor of the NBA playoffs after an underwhelming regular season.
The Pelicans were tipped as one of the Western Conference’s hottest teams to watch ahead of the start of the 2020-21 season and, while there were plenty of seductive flashes, there was also a lot of inconsistency. Under the mandate of new head coach Stan Van Gundy, the Pelicans took quite a few months to find their footing—a stark contrast to another new hire and Van Gundy counterpart, Tom Thibodeau, for instance.
Van Gundy was meant to implement a defense-heavy focus on this Pelicans squad which often seemed to lack the focus to decide games under previous coach Alvin Gentry. Instead, New Orleans was actually one of the poorest defensive teams in the NBA for most of the year. The Pelicans finished the year as a bottom ten defense, but surprisingly, a top ten offense.
Usually, NBA offenses tend to run through the hands of the guards. The likes of Trae Young and Damian Lillard are sure to come to mind after some of their recent playoff heroics. But on the Pelicans, this was not actually the case.
Instead, for the likes of Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe to name the two starters, there was a bigger onus on spacing the floor and defending hard so that the wings—Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram—had more room to operate and more shooters to find.
It was an interesting role reversal that makes grading the Pelicans’ guards a little more challenging than it already is given all of their particular situations.
With that being said, here is the end of the year review for New Orleans’ point guards: