Overreacting to the first Pelicans preseason game

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Published: October 5, 2017

After a long (very long) off-season we finally had our first action of New Orleans Pelicans basketball. With so much conjecture as to how well the team will perform this season, it was nice to be able to see some substantive play.

And we all know that whatever happens in the very first pre-season game is what the rest of our season will be. So, we must scrutinise this game with the magnifying glass that every Pelicans fan possesses.

The Chicago Bulls will be bad this season, very bad. So it was pleasing to see the Pelicans run circles around them early in the game. Then things took a turn for the worse in the dreaded 3rd quarter. New Orleans started to mill around and leave open Justin Holiday as the Bulls cut into and then surpassed the Pelicans substantial lead.

With that lets blow this thing up and overreact to the very first Pelicans game

This Offense Is Scary Good

Ball movement, cuts, offensive rebounds, my God it was all there. Is that another long-distance 3 going in? You betcha and this time it’s Rondo!

Everything was clicking for the Pelicans early on. There were many sets being run that New Orleans had seemingly been working on in training camp. One of the first that caught my eye was an off-ball action that had Jrue Holiday popping out on the corner wing for an open three.

He missed it, but it was a very good look and one that he usually makes.

And there are no doubts about the Rondo-Holiday back-court working. With Rajon’s dribble penetration the Bulls were forced to go down towards the basket leaving open shooters (Miller/Cousins) or open cutters (Jrue).

But it was the pairing of Davis and Cousins that was the most pleasing. When Anthony was working one side there was action involving Demarcus on the other. This duo was also doing well in the open floor like we all anticipated. When there was a rebound occasionally Cousins would push the ball up the floor allowing the more athletic Davis to cut down.

What was pleasing to see was that New Orleans has changed the type of shots they were attempting. No longer did we see the long-two ball from Anthony Davis. Instead it was either, Let’s get to the basket. Or it was, Let’s attempt a three. The coaching staff has made it clear that this would be different, and boy was it!

The Offense Is A Failure

No ball movement, indecisiveness and the two bigs just can’t work together. All of our pre-season predictions must be immediately adjusted.

Any amount of ball pressure will force the Pelican guards to make poor passes. And just front any PnR coverage and you’ll prevent any semblance of offensive action.

Stop fouling the bigs and you’ll find yourself grabbing more rebounds than you ever could have imagined.

It’s time to blow things up.

The Defense Is Active

Wingspan, that’s what gave the Pterodactyl it’s advantage in prehistoric times. So too the Pelicans and not just the animal, the basketball team too!

New Orleans had 4 first-half blocks and 2 first-half steals. This was advantageous as it allowed them to get out and run.

Just imagine a Pterodactyl on the fast break, great speed.

The Pelicans weren’t switching as much as we’d seen from last season. It was a lot more of trying to fight through the screens and contain the ball as best as possible.

Rondo seemed very much involved in trying to get New Orleans organised and was a great benefit in defending the pick and roll.

This seems like a positive start, somewhat.

Darren Erman is Pulling his hair out

When the Chicago Bulls lay 113 on you, then you know that something just ain’t quite right. The Bulls shot a blistering 46 percent from three featuring such names as Denzel Valentine (35% career 3 point shooter), Paul Zipser (33%) and Jerian Grant (30%).

The Pelicans couldn’t contain the off-ball action, consistently miscommunicating and getting stuck behind screens. When that would happen the bigs would help down low leaving open shooters everywhere.

It felt like Justin Holiday was Jrue Holiday.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “But it’s just one game.” Hogwash, this cannot be fixed. No matter how much film Rondo watches.

OK maybe I’m over-reacting, to all of this… But you can’t say that in some small way you didn’t?

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