New Orleans Pelicans: 3 reasons next season will be different

Head coach Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans talks to Brandon Ingram (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Head coach Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans talks to Brandon Ingram (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Sustainability and continuity are two words you are going to hear a lot this offseason. The New Orleans Pelicans will have 14 players returning, and with a lottery pick, another young talent will be brought into a situation filled with momentum. Things are different in the Pelicans’ locker room, and fans should be elated about the present and the future. Here are three reasons why next season will be different.

The Starting Five

The starting lineup of McCollum, Jones, Ingram, Hayes and Valanciunas finished the regular season +8.2 points per 100 possessions, scoring at a rate more than six points better than the league’s best offense. As a whole, the New Orleans Pelicans’ net rating since the CJ McCollum trade ranked fifth in the Western Conference. Add Zion to the five, and this will be one of, if not, the most efficient offenses in the NBA. With the veteran leadership of CJ McCollum and Jonas Valanciunas, the Pelicans will go into the season with, essentially, four guys who can give you 25+ points on any given night, which is a luxury that most teams in the NBA don’t have.

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Many people compare this Pelicans team to the Bubble Suns. I’ll suggest another comparison. When I think about this team, I see a resemblance to the 2009-10 Oklahoma City Thunder. A young, hungry, and athletic group of, in the grand scheme of things, kids looking to establish themselves as the next great team. They met their fate in the same manner as the Pelicans losing 4-2 to the defending champion, Los Angeles Lakers. That following year, that same Thunder team made a run to the conference finals losing to the eventual champion, Dallas Mavericks. It’s just something to think about.


The Pelicans have not secured a coach since the Ingram-Williamson era began. Until now. Willie Green has established himself as the coach of the future for this team. Chris Paul said after Game 6, “You tell me something bad about Willie Green, then you’re telling me about yourself.”

Green is well respected around the league as a person, teammate, friend and basketball mind. His team exhibits the same blue-collar work ethic he brought to the NBA as a player. His coaching style mirrors this. Work hard, and good things will happen for you. It’s why his famous “You Gotta Fight” message to the team during the Clippers Play-In game became a sort of rallying cry for the team during the playoffs.

The New Orleans Pelicans are building a team that can have sustained success, which includes continuing to add lottery talent to the roster even though they just made the playoffs. There’s finally some continuity with the roster and coaching staff and the Pels are ready to make the leap.

Next. An offseason trade target to make Pelicans contenders. dark