Another depressing statistic for fans of the New Orleans Pelicans

CJ McCollum & Fred Vinson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
CJ McCollum & Fred Vinson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

My first-ever blog post as the site manager for Pelican Debrief involved me sharing a depressing statistic about the New Orleans Pelicans.

If you need a refresher, the post was basically about how the Pelicans were in the top-5 at the time (and ultimately for the season) in number of games lost by their players due to injury. That’s certainly not the kind of statistic you want to be placing top-5 in.

But yet, somehow, I’ve returned with something even more saddening than that, mostly because it involves the history of the franchise rather than one lone season.

Now that the Denver Nuggets are officially headed to the NBA Finals, the Pelicans are one of only five teams to have never made it to the NBA Finals.

That’s right. The Pelicans, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, and Memphis Grizzlies are the only NBA franchises to never appear in an NBA Finals. To make matters worse, New Orleans is one of only two teams (along with the Hornets) to never even make it to the conference finals. The furthest they have ever gone was to the conference semifinals (which they did in 2008 and 2018).

The saving grace here for the Pelicans is that they have a dark horse contender right now when their superstar Zion Williamson is healthy. Early in the season, even with Brandon Ingram out of the lineup, New Orleans spent some time in the upper echelon of the conference before Williamson suffered a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the remainder of the season (and subsequently banished the team to the halls of mediocrity).

Despite the way it ended, the Pelicans showed that the formula is there to break out of this category of teams once and for all. Between Williamson, Ingram, CJ McCollum, and the emerging young trio of Trey Murphy III, Dyson Daniels, and Herbert Jones, New Orleans has the nucleus to build a contender in the immediate future.

So, let’s cross our fingers and hope that Williamson can stay healthy, the roster can continue to fill out nicely, and that the Pelicans will be the first of these five teams to make their debut in the NBA Finals.

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