Pelicans Scoop: Systemic Concerns

Published: November 20, 2018


Do you have any systemic concerns around the team?


Shamit – Defense is a concern at the moment but I think it is a symptom of changing personnel. With injuries and experimental rotations, it is difficult to establish consistency and an identity on that end of the floor. I do believe it will come around should the Pelicans stay relatively healthy. The Pelicans have won 6 of their last 7 and have the 15th best defense in that stretch per Cleaning the Glass. That is workable and improvable. What is awesome is that they have the league’s best offensive rebound rate in that stretch and 5th overall season to date. I think the Pelicans should continue to embrace the assault on the offensive glass as the season progresses. I got a chance to ask Anthony Davis about the team’s focus on offensive rebounding and here was his response:


Michael – It depends on what the goal is. If the goal is to make the playoffs and get to the second round, I am perfectly happy with the healthy version of the team we’ve assembled. I love our frontcourt and Jrue, and am completely comfortable with Payton/Moore/Jrue as a regular season tandem. I have one serious concern: our guard depth. Payton being out for over a month is a tough blow. It is likely not the best time to be cashing in chips for a trade, but I am worried that the season could slip away from us should we get nickel and dimed with other injuries while Elfrid is hurt.


Mason – I laid out my concerns about the rotations in a column last week, and given Payton’s new injury, that problem still exists. It does appear that the team feels good about replacing Elfrid with Wes Johnson in the starting lineup, but beyond that, the bench has been in flux, making it tough to develop any sort of chemistry on either end of the floor. Randle has been the Pels’ swiss army knife of sorts, but some consistency in his role (and overall second unit responsibilities) would go a long way in helping the team tread water without its two best players on the floor. Go get someone you trust to run point for the second unit, and I will feel much better about the Pelicans’ ability to remain competitive with the league’s best teams.


Ryan H – My only systemic concern is the wear and tear on Jrue and AD playing extremely high minutes at this pace. Need to find a way to alleviate pressure on both of them.


Jesse – I’m mostly concerned that the roster is perpetually incomplete and when these lengthy injuries occur to a key player, there is too much of a hole for the team to dig out of while they wait on the next personnel move. After those moves are made, can the acquired play stay and be a part of the Pels’ future or were they only just a band-aid at the time that will eventually contribute to the growing hole?


42 – Yeah, rebounding. I beat the drum daily, and I know the team knows it’s critical. They have to increase their possession efficiency without going after the most sought after assets in the NBA, since they can not compete with actual title team for those assets. With the passing and distribution angle they are taking, bolstered by defense, it’s rebounding that drives up the efficiency. They have the personnel to do better, and it shows. It’s also by design. They are going after non-empty possessions, not just boom-or-bust 3’s or dunks. Rebounding is the glue they need, they know it, they built for it, and they are under-performing. I’m confident, right or wrong, the defense will harden. The rebounding . . . I have data to turn my hope into faith.


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