Looking at the New Orleans Pelicans’ Schedule

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Published: August 14, 2016

In case you missed it, the Pelicans’ schedule was released Thursday. You can take a look at the whole thing here. Despite how early it is to form concrete opinions, and knowing that a lot will change as we get closer to the season, and change when the season actually starts, there is still a lot to take away. Let’s dive in.

National TV

Gone is the spotlight the Pelicans stood under to start last season. But going 30-52, failing to live up to expectations (for a myriad of reasons), will do that to a franchise. This year the Pelicans are on national TV 5 times (4 on ESPN, 1 on TNT), after being scheduled for 13 last season. It’s disappointing to see that the luster has fallen off after the Pelicans were considered a bit of a sleeper team last year. But it might not be all that bad…

The pressure heaped on by a new head coach and playoff expectations is gone. There is no need to worry about it. This is one distraction taken away. To you, the fan, does it matter if the game is on ESPN or not? We’re past the days when CST wouldn’t actually carry every game. And with the games being on Fox Sports New Orleans, you’ll get to hear Joel Meyers and David Wesley more often.

Christmas and Martin Luther King Jr. Day

After snagging a matchup against the Heat on the League’s marquee day, the Pelicans will be spending Christmas at home this year. If anything, this is a bit disappointing as the Christmas Day slate is usually a fun day of basketball.

The flip side is the Pelicans still play on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As with the recent season, it isn’t a home game and will be played at Indiana on Monday, January 16th. It tips at 3 p.m. central so be sure to set your DVR’s if you’re at work.

Mardi Gras

Fat Tuesday is February 28th, 2017. In the weeks and days leading up to it, the Pelicans are on the road 6 times compared to just one at home. On Bacchus Sunday they take on Oklahoma City in a game that pretty much no one will watch.

And the one home game in that stretch? Thursday, February 23rd…also known as Muses Thursday. This was also the case last season as the Pelicans took on the Lakers in the Smoothie King Center despite the parades going on. While that game was fairly well attended due to Kobe Bryant’s retirement tour, it’s a safe bet that a game against Houston will not be. Personally, you’ll be able to catch me somewhere on St. Charles trying to catch a shoe.

Rest and Back to Backs

Though the NBA has looked to reduce back-to-back games and generally give teams more rest, the Pelicans will play 17 back-to-backs, while only catching opens on the second night of the same stretch just 13 times. Not ideal at all, but it helps that there is more depth on this team than in years past.

Strength of Schedule

This is a bit of a weird stat as it’s built off last season’s records and predictions for the coming year. All of which could mean something, or nothing at all. But, as it stands right now, the Pelicans’ schedule is tougher than it is easier. Their (predicted, I want to drive that point home) strength of schedule tends to be somewhere in the top ten hardest depending on where you look. So, while no one knows if that’ll be true, the fact that there is a concensus seems to indicate that, yeah, this will be rough.

Notable Games

October 28th and December 13th at home against the Warriors and Kevin Durant.

December 8th at home against the 76er’s and former LSU Tiger Ben Simmons.

January 23rd at home against the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Notice I didn’t mention anything about the Los Angeles Lakers, since without Kobe Bryant there are fairly irrelevant.

What’s your take on the Pelicans’ schedule? Let us know in the comments below!

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