New Orleans Pelicans: You won’t believe just how bad the bench has been

New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (13) and New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10) Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (13) and New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes (10) Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans are struggling mightily right now and there really is no sugarcoating it.

As with all things this season, a huge asterisk has to be put next to anything, as the team is playing without stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

There is not a team in the NBA that could overcome the loss of its two best players, including the Pelicans, who are off to a 1-10 start, worst in the NBA.

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Other than the play of Jonas Valanciunas, Josh Hart and Herb Jones (when he’s been in the games), there hasn’t been much to get excited about, as just about everyone else has struggled coming out of the gate, especially the bench.

At full strength, I do believe this bench will be a weapon, but they haven’t been near full strength, so everyone has had to move up a rung on the ladder and it shows, as the Pels’ bench is getting destroyed night after night.

This is not only putting pressure on their starters to play huge minutes, but it is costing them leads and putting the team in a huge hole. But just how bad have they been? It’s getting historic.

The New Orleans Pelicans’ bench is by far the worst in the NBA

After scoring just 10 points total last night (all of them by Jaxson Hayes), the Pelicans’ bench is the worst in the NBA by a wide margin.

Here are a few of the categories in which the New Orleans Pelicans’ bench ranks dead last in the NBA:

  • Minutes per game (16.1)
  • Points per game (23.8)
  • Field goal makes (8.6)
  • Field goal attempts (23.5)
  • Field goal percentage (36.7%)
  • 3-point makes (2.6)
  • 3-point percentage (25.9%)
  • +/- (-8.1)

I could go on but you get the point. I understand that with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram out, we aren’t really seeing the bench, as the only decent bench player so far (Josh Hart) has been in the starting lineup.

We certainly won’t see guys like Garrett Temple getting huge minutes once Zion and BI return, so hopefully everything will settle once the team is at full strength.

But the New Orleans Pelicans have to be somewhat concerned about the starts of Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr., Naji Marshall and Trey Murphy III, who have all either been terrible or non-existent so far this season.

Murphy III could thrive alongside Zion and BI, but so far he’s made little impact. Hayes has been disappointing and was recently benched. Naji has made one 3-point shot all season. Lewis Jr. has been similarly bad, and could start to lose his minutes to Tomas Satoransky or even Jose Alvarado if he’s not careful.

Yes, the New Orleans Pelicans have had bad luck with injuries, but this bench has also been atrocious, and it’s time they stop making excuses and start doing their respective jobs.

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