The Pelican Playoff Hunt

Published: January 8, 2015

Good afternoon all! I’d like to welcome you to the Pelican Playoff Hunt – a new regular segment where we keep track of everything relating to New Orleans’ quest to get into the playoffs.

In it we will keep track of the overall standings, upcoming schedule of the Pels as well as the teams also vying for the 7th and 8th seeds.

We’ll keep you up to date with how the other teams are faring, their injury news as well as ours. Also we will try to offer up some kind of indicator long-term of how things might shape up. We’re going to collate the information, share it with you and try to make sense of it.

Seeing as though I’m from the future (it’s actually Friday here in Australia!) I figured I’d pass on some knowledge of what it holds… well, okay maybe not.

But we can at least have a go, right?

Just like the Pelicans! There’s still plenty of time for them to make the playoffs however the Western Conference is as competitive as ever.

8th Jan - Playoff Standings

Current playoff standings – 8th January 2015

The Pelicans currently now sit 3 and a half games back from the 8th seed. With their loss to Charlotte, New Orleans pushed themselves further away from the Suns who have won four of their past 5. They’ve been hovering around Phoenix for some time now and as Jrue Holiday put it when they beat them, “We don’t want to talk about playoffs (this early), but when it comes down to playoffs, this could help us.”

Oklahoma City are lurking a half game behind the Pels and 4 behind Phoenix. San Antonio looked shaky recently with a loss to Detroit.

You’ll notice that the Pelicans have had a really difficult schedule up until now (2nd toughest in the league). Things get a little easier over the coming months, but that won’t guarantee them anything.

8th Jan - Upcoming Schedule


Upcoming schedule from 9th January – 20th January

Green = easy

Orange = medium

Red = Difficult/Will have to earn it/No-chance

Pelicans Upcoming Schedule

The Pelicans next 5 games are significantly more easy that the Thunder. Though it’s not without its pitfalls. They play Memphis at home Friday night then go on 5-game road trip against Eastern Conference opponents.

The problem with labelling these games “easy” is that the Pelicans have wasted several opportunities against Eastern Conference opponents.

They lost to Washington, who granted, are one of the better Eastern Conference teams. But losing to Charlotte was inexcusable. If this team wants to make the playoffs they’re going to have to beat poor teams and so far they don’t look like doing it.

New Orleans is a petty 4-7 against the East and that isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement for a road-trip heavily featuring said conference.

The others upcoming schedule

Two things that jump out at me from the table above:

  1. The Suns get a nice even split of games. They play a game, then get some rest, then another and so on. Also, they have a lot of winnable games over that period. For Pels fans hoping that they’d catch Phoenix… well I don’t think it’ll happen anytime soon
  2. The Thunder play a game and then get a week off (or close to it)! My goodness! I actually had to double check the schedule…

The Spurs have a manageable schedule. Yes, they do go on a three game trip but I think after losing to Detroit they’ll have their tales up ready to battle.

Hardest Game Coming Up for NOLA

This has to be Memphis, but don’t overlook that Toronto game. In fact, also include that Detroit game, they’ve been on a god damn tear since Josh Smith left. No, put them all down there because after the past week no game is safe.

News and Noteworthy Things

Spurs – Tony Parker has returned from injury. Kawai Leonard was out with injury against the Pistons and remains indefinite to return.

Suns – Suns owner Robert Sarver is hoping to purchase Rangers, the iconic football (soccer) club from Scotland.

Pelicans – Gordon has returned from injury and continues to work his way back into the lineup. Tyreke Evans struggles with the flu, but played against the Hornets.

Thunder – Oklahoma City traded for Dion Waiters and he came off the bench in their loss to Sacramento. Everyone is fully healthy for them.

Game Prediction

8th Jan - Predicted Playoff Standings

Predicted playoff standing as of 11th January 2015

I think the Pelicans go 2-3 this week, dropping the Memphis game and Raptors game as well as the winnable game against Detroit.

Predicting everyone else’s schedule up until Sunday (when the Pelicans last play) I actually predict the Pels to fall down in the rankings as Oklahoma City overtakes them with an 18-19 record (vs. Pels predicted record of 19-21).

So, what say you Pels fans – how do you think this road-trip will go? Will New Orleans make or lose ground in the western conference playoff hunt?


  1. bigezking

    January 8, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    BOLD PREDICTION, if Monty stays Pelicans miss the playoffs.  Monty goes, we make a run and we make the playoffs.  Make the change now.

  2. Jason Calmes

    January 8, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    bigezking Do you really think that is bold? It is certainly not a prediction.

  3. Nicks65

    January 8, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Jason Calmes bigezking I mean… I think suggesting an NBA team could make the playoffs by firing a coach and not replacing him with anyone else is a pretty bold suggestion.

  4. jsgrayson

    January 8, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Nicks65 Jason Calmes bigezking I enjoy my #hottakes as much as the next man, but firing Monty seems to be a persistent them among Pels fans and rightly so. 
    As McNamara pointed out though, we cannot forget the organisation as a whole should they miss the playoffs. It falls on everyone: The coaches, players, player personnel, trainers, ballboys/girls. 
    And also the fans. We have to get out and support these guys. Let’s get to the arena and make sure they know we’re behind them win or lose. We can be upset about the results, but I really want to see people get to the arena and do everything we can to support them.

  5. Pelican Poster

    January 8, 2015 at 11:21 pm

    I tend to agree with your expectation, though given past events the Pels will somehow win on Friday night vs the Grizzlies…we have shown a pattern of winning unexpectedly…and losing unexpectedly…these occasions are becoming more expected!

  6. mrcatz22

    January 9, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Really like this article and how it focuses to our specific situation and the teams around us.
    Really hoping that Wednesday’s loss was either a fluke or a wake up call and the team kicks into gear to make some what of a run at the playoffs. Or more specifically play like a team that shows that in the next two seasons they could be a playoff contender without blowing up the roster. We have talent on this team but we are a few roster moves and maybe a coaching change from being a legitimate threat for a title. I wouldn’t be too upset if we miss out on the playoffs by a few games if we end the season playing with an identity instead of just playing as inconsistently as we have. Still think our future is bright though hopefully we can get rolling on this road trip.

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