Pelicans don’t need more time, they have their identity

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Published: December 21, 2016

After a loss in San Antonio on Sunday evening, New Orleans Pelicans Head Coach, Alvin Gentry talked a bit about the Pelicans need to sort out their identity. “We’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got to figure it out in a hurry,” Gentry said. “What are we going to be? How are we going to play? We’ve got to be consistent in what we’re doing. That’s the disappointing thing.”

New Orleans’ campaign has for the second consecutive year been very underwhelming. The growing frustration is evident, not only among the coaching staff and players, but fans too. All you need to do is head to Twitter for 10 minutes on Pelicans game day to find the mood of supporters less than enthusiastic.

However, the sentiment coming from both Gentry and even Anthony Davis is that the team is not consistent enough. “We’re very inconsistent,” Davis said. “One game we play very well offensively, defensively we’re talking. Another game we just, we’re not.”

Unlike last season, there’s no ability to blame this on injuries. The Pelicans have been bad. They now sit at 10-20 and are right at the bottom of the Western Conference.

New Orleans is not inconsistent, and they don’t need more time. They are a bad basketball team with an identity that is well and truly established as one of the poorer outfits in the league.

The team sits at the bottom of the league in offensive rating (27th of 30). No one outside of Anthony Davis and Omer Asik (who have played more than 100 minutes) has posted an offensive rating above 110. Analysing games, it is evident that offensive sets are running primarily through Davis, as would make sense as he’s 2nd in the league in PPG. The problem is that New Orleans’ ball-movement can at times be lacking. Forward Solomon Hill attested to this after a 76ers loss saying “our ball movment is non-existent.”

The odd thing about the Pelicans poor offense is that the team is clearly trying to push the tempo. New Orleans ranks 7th in pace and rank 3rd in teams attempting field-goals with 0-4 seconds left on the clock. They’re not wasting time to put up their shots.

Being incapable of capitalizing on this pace is likely the answer. New Orleans ranks 25th in eFG% – they’re just not hitting their shots. Their opponents grab the most defensive rebounds in the league (38.5) meaning that when the Pelicans miss they don’t get second chances. The expectation for a slump offensively should have been anticipated.

The team didn’t bring back Ryan Anderson or Eric Gordon, two players known for their offensive skill-set who are now thriving in Houston. They’ve suffered injuries to two key offensive components in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans. And finally they brought in numerous roll players in the hopes they would bring more defense.

However this hasn’t exactly transpired on the other end. The Pelicans have “surged” from 27th in the NBA in defensive-rating to 17th but have gone the complete opposite direction on the offensive side.

Their identity is unmistakable. They aren’t a good offensive team outside of Davis and no one is capable of “carrying the load.” While Jrue Holiday can certainly contribute, his flair for scoring isn’t exactly high profile. Tyreke Evans would certainly help, but there are question marks over whether he can remain healthy and return to some of the form he had prior to his injury.

Defensively, while they have improved since last season, they still don’t show the ability to get stops when they need. Their ball-rotation is dependent on their energy levels and while they are 2nd in the league in blocked shots their opponents are shooting a staggering 61.2% within 6-feet of the basket (3rd worst in the NBA).

New Orleans is a consistent team in that they just aren’t good at winning basketball games. Their identity is one of a team that is bad offensively and is not much better defensively. They don’t need any more time. In the immortal words of Dennis Green, “They are what we though they were.”

2 Comments

  1. mvpmb10

    December 24, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    It is such a bad combination going on right now…
    This is soo fixable.
    I like that we hear them in Rumors thou…thats a good thing..
    Hes on the phones…That means another good trade is about to happen.
    Get it done demps….Its time

  2. BenHanchett

    December 31, 2016 at 6:07 pm

    mvpmb10 What are the rumors?

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