The league snubbed the New Orleans Pelicans from Rivals Week

Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans. Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns.(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

For the first time ever, the NBA is hosting Rivals Week, which will take place from January 24th to January 28th. Over the span of those five days, fans will have the opportunity to observe eleven nationally televised rivalry games. Here are those matchups:

By my count, 16 different teams are going to be featured across the eleven Rivalry Week matchups, yet none of those teams will be our New Orleans Pelicans.  What’s going on here?

Last season, the Pelicans played a couple of captivating games against the Phoenix Suns. Those games, coupled with the highly-competitive six-game series these two teams played during the 2022 NBA Playoffs, led NBA writer Nekias Duncan to call the Suns/Pelicans feud “the kind of rivalry we need.”

If Pelicans/Suns is the rivalry we need, then why isn’t that matchup being featured during Rivals Week? Yes, the Suns already have a game against the Dallas Mavericks. And given the stakes of their Western Conference Semifinals clash in 2022, it makes sense that they get priority over Pelicans/Suns.

But there are other teams with two appearances in Rivals Week. The Mavericks also get to play the Atlanta Hawks. The Miami Heat, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Golden State Warriors all also get two appearances.

Hell, even the San Antonio Spurs get to make two appearances during Rivals Week. Listen, I’m excited to see Victor Wembanyama play. And I’m sure he’s going to develop into an awesome player someday. But do we really need to watch him play twice during Rivals Week?

If you ask me, it would be much more entertaining to get another chapter of the Suns versus Pelicans (two surefire playoff contenders) than it would be to watch the Spurs fight for lottery seeding with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Hopefully, when the Suns and Pelicans eventually do meet up this year, the games are so box office that the league has no choice but to include New Orleans in next season’s Rivals Week. Fingers crossed.

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