New Orleans Pelicans: The Pels will be tested early in crucial season

Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Fans of the New Orleans Pelicans won’t have to wait long to see what this team is made of.

The Pelicans are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, have their third coach in as many seasons and will have at least three new faces in the starting lineup.

The early season was already going to be a challenge and that was before the news came out that Zion Williamson will miss the first few weeks and that there is no timeline for his return.

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It couldn’t get much worse for a team that is desperate to get off to a good start in a crucial season.

This is the final season before the Pelicans can offer Zion Williamson his rookie extension, so obviously they want to take a step in the right direction and show that the team is building a winner around him.

No star player has ever turned down their rookie extension and the Pelicans do not want Zion to be the first, so this team needs to start improving to ensure that he wants to stay.

It’s a lot of pressure on a young, shorthanded team, and the schedule isn’t going to help.

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The October schedule starts with a flurry of games for the Pelicans, who will play seven times in 10 days including two back-to-backs.

Zion is going to miss all of these games and probably more, so if the Pels start off slowly, they could be in a big hole before their star returns.

On the flip side, this will give some of their new players a chance to step up and if they can manage to stay afloat, it will be a big confidence boost.

The narrative around this team has been mostly negative this offseason as fans were debating whether the Pels improved even before Zion Williamson got hurt.

The young Pels will either give into that narrative, feel sorry for themselves and dig a huge hole to start the season, or can use it as motivation and flip the script.

It’s going to be a big test for new coach Willie Green and his young roster, who can’t afford to get off to a bad start in this crucial season for the franchise.

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