Pelicans schedule: Breaking down the projected wins and losses

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 18: Assistant coach Fred Vinson and Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 18: Assistant coach Fred Vinson and Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans schedule: The toss ups

Now for the tricky part. Are there any instances where both New Orleans and their opponent are facing the second night at the same time? The easiest example (no surprise) comes in November, the Pels and Jazz play on the 26th and 27th in Utah. In what has become a fun matchup we’ll be treated to two games in two nights. Not much time for any hard feelings to soften.

There are five times where both the Pels and their opponent will play a game having just played the night before, mostly in November. The dates of those games are below.

Date Home Away
11/3 Kings Pels
11/13 Pels Grizzlies
11/20 Pacers Pels
11/27 Jazz Pels
4/10 Pels Warriors

The outcome of these games is hard to predict as I’m almost guaranteeing a loss if a team is on the second night of a back-to-back. I’m of the belief that depth will be the deciding factor in deciding these games. This could be good news for a Pels team that looks a good bit deeper than last season. Looking at the rosters as they stand right now, the Pels have a real shot to go 4-1 (loss to Utah) in these games, the Warriors game could change that (if Klay is healthy).

Related Story. The Pelicans should be dramatically better in this area. light

Taking all these back-to-backs into account the Pels are looking at a 15-8 record just based on how the calendar works. That’s the best-case scenario, as undoubtedly the Pels will win a game they’re not supposed to and lose a game they should win. That’s why you play the games.

One last thing to bring to your attention is how many times the Pels play three games in four nights. Once the NBA did away with four games in five nights for the 2017-18 season, fans were expecting to see their favorite players play in more games. To some extent that has happened but with the rise in load management some players are still taking time off in the season.

Resting players comes in a couple of different forms. Most clearly is just sitting a player for a game but the more used method is to reduce the number of minutes a player gets over a few games. While going from 36 minutes to 28 or 30 may not seem like a big deal (what’s six minutes matter in the grand scheme?), by dropping minutes for a few games a player can almost take off an extra game or two over the course of a season.

I counted 12 occurrences of the Pels playing three games in four nights. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the number of back-to-backs the Pels face matches the three-in-four number. A team typically plays every two or three nights and a back-to-back just bunches up the schedule. If the Pels look a little sluggish or play fewer than average minutes during these stretches just remember to look at the schedule and see what the previous couple of days looked like.

All told the Pels should be fighting for a play-in spot at the least and most fans would be more than a little disappointed if the team finished closer to tenth than sixth in the Western Conference. Based on the schedule and team’s rosters right now the Pels are in good shape. If the good vibes from Summer League carry over to the regular season, the NBA needs to be on notice. These aren’t AD’s Pelicans anymore.

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