The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Pelicans search for consistency as season chugs along

November 27, 2018

Graphic by Kaitlyn Biri

Graphic by Kaitlyn Biri

Following a strong start, the New Orleans Pelicans have been faced with a series of obstacles in this young season. Bouts of inconsistency in their play and injuries to key players, such as Elfrid Payton and Anthony Davis, have the Pelicans sitting at 10-10 following an undefeated 4-0 start. While pessimism may rain, as many expected a better start from the team, the Pels have shown glimpses of potential that can make for a special year of NOLA basketball.

The fully healthy Pelicans began the season on an offensive tear, outscoring multiple teams including the impressive opening night road victory over the Houston Rockets and last year’s MVP James Harden. In the second game of the year, the team routed the Sacramento Kings to scoring a franchise record 149 points in 48 minutes of action. Everything was running smoothly until injuries struck in typical Pelicans fashion and disrupted the flow of the squad. Anthony Davis missed a handful of games with an elbow injury, leading to a stretch of six-straight losses on a tough road streak, as well as Payton who has only played in five games due to an ankle sprain and, more recently, a broken finger.

All is not gloom and doom, however. Impressive wins, such as handing the Toronto Raptors, a leading contender for the Eastern Conference title, their first loss at home since March and soundly defeating the Denver Nuggets at home, show that when they play to their potential, the Pelicans have the firepower to compete with anyone.

Anthony Davis, while playing below his expected level, continues to eat in the paint and stymie opposing teams in the paint (when he tries) on defense. Jrue Holiday makes his case for Defensive Player of the Year game by game by putting the clamps on certified stars, such as Kawhi Leonard and Devin Booker. Holiday continues to be a magician in the paint and oh, he’s second in the league in assists. E’Twaun Moore has dropped buckets in an efficient and effective manner, already having multiple 30-point efforts under his belt so far this season. Julius Randle has proved to be a walking double-double off the bench, giving the Pels a solid option when AD sits.

There is some cleaning up to do, however. Although the potential is obvious, turnovers on the offensive end continue to pile up without a true healthy point guard on the roster. Defensive struggles that continue can mostly be chalked up to effort but are concerning nonetheless.

Inconsistent play has been frustrating and leads to losses to inferior teams. It’s shown that another piece is needed for the team to take the next step to be true title contenders in the league. The cornerstones in Davis and Holiday are there, but one more solid player can take the team to the next level. Be on the lookout (enter eye emoji here) for a big trade in the near future.

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