The New Orleans Pelicans are going to have a much different roster next season and there is debate whether they have improved.
They jettisoned three starters in Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams and Lonzo Ball, so will look to get big contributions from some new players in the starting lineup.
Personally, I think the Pelicans are going to be better this season, as they are more athletic and have guys who are going to play harder than some of the sulking veterans who did not contribute last season.
You can debate whether the defense has improved, or whether the Pels have enough shooting, but there is one area where they are definitely going to be better: free throws.
The New Orleans Pelicans have been one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in the NBA over the last two seasons, which has cost them a lot of close games and is one of the main reasons they coughed up so many 4th-quarter leads.
They were just 29th in free throw percentage last season, but have made some changes that should help the Pelicans make dramatic improvement.
New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Murphy III replacing Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe stunk for the New Orleans Pelicans and probably had his worst season as a professional, including at the line where he shot an awful 68.7 percent last season on 2.7 attempts per game.
Bledsoe didn’t handle the ball much, so was mostly reduced to standing in the corner waiting for a 3-point shot, which didn’t lead to many attempts.
Shooting under 70 percent as a guard is unforgivable, but luckily, that’s the Clippers’ problem now and the Pelicans have Trey Murphy III, who shot an outstanding 92.7 percent last season in college.
The only problem with Murphy III is that he doesn’t get to the line much either, averaging only 1.6 attempts per game last season.
But at least he can make them when he does, which is a big step up from Bledsoe, who really brought the Pelicans down last season with his poor shooting and attitude.