The New Orleans Pelicans have the talent to compete for an NBA title next season if everything goes right.
But there are a lot of teams that could say the same thing, which is why winning an NBA title comes down to more than just talent. It also takes injury luck, team chemistry and every player finding the best way to contribute to team success even if it means sacrificing individual stats.
For the New Orleans Pelicans to compete for a title, they will have to have outstanding seasons from their starting lineup, with every guy hitting certain marks.
Here are some important over/unders for each Pels’ starter and their chances of hitting the over.
New Orleans Pelicans: Starting lineup over/unders
CJ McCollum: +/- 6 assists per game
CJ McCollum has never averaged six assists per game, so the smart money is on the under here, even though he did average 5.8 in his short time with the Pelicans last season. But he’s never been the lead guard before, and will now be asked to effectively play the point in a starting lineup that doesn’t have traditional guard roles.
McCollum, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson will all share the ball-handling duties but it will be interesting to see if Willie Green has CJ running the show most of the time. If so, he could set his career mark for assists.
Herbert Jones: +/- 38 percent from 3-point range
Herb Jones was one of the best defenders in the NBA last season. He was also a very good wing cutter who was a threat around the rim in the half court and in transition. But if he can boost his 3-point shooting up to closer to 40 percent, this Pelicans offense is going to be almost impossible to stop. This will make it easy to keep him on the court with Zion, CJ and Ingram, as right now Herb is going to be the guy that teams target in the Pels’ starting five.
He’s going to get a ton of open looks and if he can hit the corner 3-pointer at a high rate, it’s going to be a nightmare for opposing defenses, who are going to be geared to stop Zion and BI.