1 Goal for all 17 players on the New Orleans Pelicans roster

Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Larry Nance Jr. Pelicans
Larry Nance Jr., New Orleans Pelicans. Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Larry Nance Jr.: Establish yourself as the team’s closing center.

You know the old saying, “It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish?” That is exactly the case for Larry Nance Jr. this season. With how Head Coach Willie Green likes to deploy his starting lineups, it is highly unlikely that Nance becomes a consistent starter (he only started one of his 65 games last year).

However, Nance’s unique ability to switch and defend multiple positions as a small-ball five makes him the perfect asset to this team’s closing lineup. The only variables holding him back are his availability (he’s dealing with an ankle injury that has kept him out all preseason) and his lack of spacing (career 33.3% 3-point shooter on 1.2 attempts per game).

If he can figure out how to remedy (in the case of his injuries) and compensate (in the case of his spacing) for those variables, he should very well be a member of this team’s closing five on most nights. And that would be a huge win for Nance in 2023-24.

Jose Alvarado: Don’t let injuries ruin his Cinderella story.

Jose Alvarado’s emergence as “Grand Theft Alvarado” was one of the most feel-good stories of the 2021-22 season. He continued his fairy tale story the following season – even being named the Rising Stars MVP.

Unfortunately, injuries forced him to miss the final 20 games of the regular season, the Pelicans play-in game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the FIBA Basketball World Cup, and all of the preseason.

In a lot of ways, Alvarado reminds me of TJ McConnell. He’s a tenacious on-ball defender who can steer the ship for second units on offense. McConnell has made a career for himself as one of the best backups in the league. And considering Alvarado wasn’t even drafted, putting together that type of run would be incredible. Alvarado just can’t let injuries derail all the progress he’s made.