The Golden Month and a New Beginning

By:
Published: October 25, 2013
calendar2

Man, I used to love Charizard. He could fly, breathed fire, and had some kick-ass wings to boot.  ”It can melt almost anything, its breath inflicts terrible pain onto its enemies. It uses its wings to fly high. Its fire’s temperature increases as it becomes more experienced. It flies around the sky in search of powerful opponents.” Pretty cool (if you’re cool), right?? ..but Charizard, like all Pokemon, can’t win every battle, especially if your friends were those annoying kids who made you use energy cards.

Basketball is much the same (yes, I just went there). Last year, the Miami Heat were the best team in the league and rattled off a 27 game win streak, which was the 2nd longest streak in NBA history.. yet still wound up with 16 losses in the regular season.  They weren’t worse than the teams they lost to.. they just lost.  Maybe LeBron drank expired milk that day, maybe DWade was planning his next outfit, or maybe the Heat were just off that night.

So how does that come into play? Well, I was tasked with guessing how many wins the Pelicans would have in each month.  So when I say Pelicans will lose to the Raptors on the 2nd night of a back-to-back on the road, consider that it is an educated guess based on a number of factors, not me saying that the Raptors are a superior team.

One final disclaimer: it is much easier to win at home than it is on the road. NBA teams went 752-477 at home last year. Think about that for a second: that includes the Bobcats, Magic, Cavaliers, Kings, and the artists formerly known as the Hornets. Call it fan presence, call it home-cooking (getting the favor of refs), or call it whatever you want.. there is a legitimately distinct advantage for the home team in an NBA game.

October

Home Games: Indiana

Away Games: none

Predicted Record: 1-0

Every year Monty has coached New Orleans, the team has gotten out to a solid start. The teams of the last 2 years were horrible, yet went 2-0 (in 11-12) and 3-2 (last season) to start the season. In Monty’s first year as coach, New Orleans blazed out to an 11-1 start.

The Pacers are a better team than we are this season, but it’s the first Pelicans game ever, it’s at home, and I’m guessing the fans are going to be absolutely rabid that night. 1-0. NBA CHAMPIONSHIP, HERE WE COME!!!

November

Home Games: Charlotte, Phoenix, Lakers, Philly, Utah, Cleveland, Golden State

Away Games: Orlando, Memphis, Phoenix, Lakers, Utah, San Antonio, Philly

Predicted Record: 10-4

November is the Golden Month I referred to in the title. The Pelicans are blessed with an extremely favorable early schedule, as they face Charlotte, Phoenix (2x), Philly (2x, both at home), Utah (2x), and the Lakers (2x, presumably with a limited Kobe or no Kobe).  The only very tough road tests are Memphis and San Antonio.

The Pelicans will be building chemistry as the season progresses, and this gift of a November schedule could allow them to get out to a great start despite not having much playing experience together.

December

Home Games: Dallas, OKC, Detroit, Memphis, Denver, Portland

Away Games: New York, Chicago, Denver, Golden State, Clippers, Portland, Sacramento, Houston

Predicted Record: 6-8

Yikes. There are unlikely to be any teams in this month that the Pelicans can just walk over. Sacramento may be bad, but they were ~ .500 at home last year despite being terrible.  I expect 3 wins in the 4 game homestand from November 4th-13th, but the Pels have a brutal 5 game road stretch from the 15th-23rd and might only squeak out with 1 win from the trip. This is a very tough month.

January

Home Games: Washington, Dallas, San Antonio, Houston, Golden State, Sacramento, Orlando

Away Games: Minnesota (2x), Boston, Indiana, Miami, Dallas, Memphis, Detroit, Cleveland

Predicted Record: 8-8

The Pelicans start the new year with a 4 game road trip that ends with Indiana and Miami. They pick up some wins in the middle of the month with some home games against some tough opponents.

February

Home Games: Chicago, San Antonio, Atlanta, Minnesota, New York, Clippers

Away Games: Brooklyn, Toronto, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Washington, Dallas, Phoenix

Predicted Record: 8-5

The Pelicans catch a little bit of a break in February, as most of the tough teams they face will be in New Orleans.  Besides their road game against Brooklyn, the Pels should be competing in every February road game.

March

Home Games: Milwaukee, Denver, Memphis, Portland, Boston, Toronto, Miami, Brooklyn, Clippers, Utah, Sacramento

Away Games: Clippers, Sacramento, Lakers, Atlanta, San Antonio

Predicted Record: 10-6

16 games in just 31 days, but a chance to run off a nice win streak with a 6 game homestand. The 22nd-26th could be rough with Miami, Brooklyn, and the Clippers, but having all 3 games at home should allow the Pelicans to pick up a win.

April

Home Games: Phoenix, Oklahoma City, Houston

Away Games: Denver, Utah, Portland, Oklahoma City, Houston

Predicted Record: 3-5

A very tough end to the season.  After getting some manageable games to start the month, the Pelicans close out with 2 games against the Thunder and 2 games against the Rockets. This could be good timing, as the Rockets/Thunder may have already locked up seeds and could coast to the finish line, or it could be disastrous, as the Rockets/Thunder could be going all out to clinch a particular playoff matchup.

 

Final estimated record: 46-36.

30-11 at home
16-25 on the road

You heard it.. I am throwing caution to the wind and guessing that the Pelicans will be a playoff team despite the difficulty in making a 19 game leap from one season to the next (believe it or not, I did not set out with the intent on making us win 46 games).  There could certainly be some variation if key players are injured, but that’s something that could apply to other teams as well as the Pelicans. If Chris Paul gets hurt, for example, is beating the Clippers 3 out of 4 times really that unreasonable?

I am not actually taking this leap of faith because the team did so well in the preseason. When I watch in the preseason, I am more concerned with watching how individuals have improved over the summer. Anthony Davis looks poised to make the leap to stardom, Al-Farouq looks like he has done serious work on his jumper, Jrue Holiday is a defensive pest and a huge upgrade over Vasquez, and Gordon finally looks like he’s healthy and has shaken off the rust. Will all of these things hold up? Maybe, maybe not, but right now, it’s hard not to believe this team has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. The time to buy in is now.


8 comments
LaNative
LaNative

I think we'll have a few more upsets than people think.  I like our odds to get 40-45 wins.  I really think this team is gonna come together especially if we start Jason at Center.  I'm not sure about production at that spot off of the bench but he think he definitely gives us more ability.

504ever
504ever

Michael,  It's hard to asses the article, and the Pelican's season, without information like back-to-backs from us and the team we are playing.  Any chance you can put some of that information in the article via an edit?

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

We had Miami on the ropes Wednesday night.  Playing well in the 4th quarter is going to be an obstacle towards success.

Michael Pellissier
Michael Pellissier

@LaNative from what we've seen from Stiemsma so far, it's hard to argue.. been really disappointed with him so far, and not sure we can get away with him starting. Could have some upsets for sure.

Michael Pellissier
Michael Pellissier

@504ever biggest worry was making the article too bulky.. I'm not averse to putting more in though. Let me take a look at what I can do.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes moderator

@Michael Pellissier @504ever I am actually working on a schedule for the site that has this type of info in it. It'll take a little time, but it'll get there.

Feel free to request certain info. It will start simply, but we'll add to it as we add tech.