Pelicans schedule: New Orleans must avoid another slow start

Injured New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Injured New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

The New Orleans Pelicans have released their preseason schedule for the 2022-23 season and will soon unveil the regular-season schedule as well.

The Pels will see some familiar faces right away, as they will face off against former teammate Lonzo Ball and the Chicago Bulls in the very first game of the preseason.

One thing the Pelicans have had in common in the first three seasons of Zion Williamson’s career is that they got off to a slow start.

In 2019-20, the Pels started off just 2-8 against a tough schedule, as Zion Williamson watched injured from the bench.

The next season, Zion’s only full season in the league, New Orleans did it again, starting just 4-7 and putting themselves in a hole that they never crawled out of.

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It happened again last season with Zion injured once again, as the Pels started just 1-12 before eventually rallying for an unlikely run to the playoffs.

With Zion back and and hopefully healthy next season, the Pelicans need to get off to a hot start and avoid falling into a hole early.

New Orleans Pelicans schedule: The Zion Williamson factor

Zion Williamson is a big draw for the NBA, which is why the Pelicans have had brutal schedules to start each of his first three seasons.

The NBA frontloads schedules to get some of the marquee teams and players against each other right away to build up hype and draw eyeballs to TVs at the beginning of the season.

This might be a smart marketing move, but it hasn’t helped the Pels much, who have had tough opening schedules because the league is trying to feature Zion.

In case anyone from the league is listening, it would be nice for New Orleans to get a nice cushy schedule at the beginning of the season so that they can get off to a hot start and not submarine their playoff chances before the season is even a quarter finished.

Of course, every potential playoff team in the Western Conference is hoping for the same and it’s not like the league owes the Pelicans any special favors.

Regardless of the schedule, if the Pelicans want to finish near the top fo the West, they can’t let themselves fall into a deep whole in the first 10-15 games of the season, as the conference is too good and they may find themselves fighting for the play-in again if they get off to another slow start.

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