It’s been too much and not enough for the New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Brandon Ingram
Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans: Too much/not enough

Too much coasting for a team that hasn’t won squat

Willie Green had this to say after a recent loss:

The New Orleans Pelicans are a talented team, and they have a chance to do something special, but they can’t just expect to show up and get a win. You can use the excuse of the schedule or injuries, but we just haven’t seen complete games from the Pelicans of late.

The Pels’ defense has a bad habit of not showing up in the 3rd quarter, when they are allowing the 10th most points in the NBA. The Pels have gotten out to a lot of hot starts but aren’t keeping their foot on the gas in the 3rd quarter after building leads.

The Pelicans are 1st in the NBA in 1st-quarter defense, but then drop to 27th and 21st in the second and third quarters, so they are getting out to hot starts and then trying to coast.

You can’t coast in the NBA.

Not enough of the early-season swagger

It’s possible that we got a little too enamored with the Pelicans early in the season, though I do think the schedule has had a lot to do with their 6-6 start.

But one of the reasons they were getting so much hype is because this team was playing with swagger, they were flying around on defense, pushing the pace and feeding off each other’s energy.

We have seen far less of that over the last four games and it really starts at the defensive end. The Pelicans need everyone to buy-in, including Zion Williamson, who opposing offenses are repeatedly targeting.

The Pels are 6th in the NBA in steals per game, averaging 8.2 on the season, but that number has dropped to five over the last four games, including last night when they nabbed just three steals. Getting steals and getting out in transition is key to the Pelicans’ attack, so we need to see more of that “in your face” defense we saw early in the season, as it helps get the team rolling and makes them hard to stop.

New Orleans has five more games at home to get right and I think that they will, but we need to see some shifts in the offensive scheme, the rotation and more effort on the defensive end.

Next. What's good, what's not at this point in the season. dark