The Pelicans currently hold a 28 W-36 L in the Western Conference and still have a realistic opportunity to make the NBA Playoffs when NBA action resumes in late July, as we have been informed earlier this week.
What makes New Orleans such an interesting prospect is the fact that they hold a young, talented and exciting roster that could soon be a major title contender within the NBA. In this article, I’m going to discuss some of the reasons as to why I think teams should fear the rise of the Pelicans – who I believe could be a future Powerhouse in the NBA.
Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball to name but a few. The Pelicans have a wealth of young talent within their roster and these players will be key to the Pelicans' future success in the NBA.
To put this young talent into perspective, the starting five for the Pelicans have a combined average age of only 24 years old (this statistic was found from a starting unit of Lonzo Ball (22), Jrue Holiday (29), Brandon Ingram (22), Zion Williamson (19) and Derrick Favors (28)).
This shows us that the core of the roster is young at heart and that it will still take time for the team to develop and gain experience. The team is showing signs of quality already with young talent Zion Williamson averaging 23.6 PPG and 6.8 RPG in the 19 games he has featured in so far this season for the Pelicans after being selected first overall in the 2019 Draft.
Lonzo Ball is also beginning to finally find his rhythm in the NBA as he entered his 3rd season in the league after being traded to New Orleans. Lonzo is putting up a solid 12.4 PPG along with 7 APG for the Pelicans so far this year and his development as a player will be crucial to New Orleans if they are to evolve into a future Powerhouse within the league.
Brandon Ingram has also had a breakout season in New Orleans and his importance to the team is discussed later on in this article. As well as young talent, the Pelicans also have two experienced guards in their roster in both Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick. They will be able to mentor the young core of the team and bring them on as players as they pass on knowledge from their years playing in the league.
Another reason as to why one may argue that the Pelicans could be a future Force in the NBA is the fact that New Orleans hold many picks for the upcoming Drafts.
Due to the Coronavirus global pandemic that ceased NBA action in March, the 2020 NBA Draft is now scheduled to take place on October the 15th, 2020. The Pelicans currently hold a 1st round pick for the 2020 Draft along with 3 2nd round picks. This means that the Pelicans will have the chance to add more young talent to their already exciting roster once the Draft finally comes around.
The Pelicans also have a variety of picks for both the 2021 and 2022 NBA Draft’s, giving them various opportunities to continue to add more young talent to their roster if needs be. This certainly adds to the fire that is beginning to ignite in New Orleans as they look to become a major title contender within the league and bring New Orleans their first NBA title.
Ingram came into the league in 2016 when he was selected 2nd overall in the NBA draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Ingram donned the purple and gold of the Lakers for three years until he was traded to the Pelicans in 2019. During his time in the league, we have witnessed him mature as a player and become accustomed to the NBA.
Ingram was having the best year of his career to date in the NBA having featured in 56 of the Pelicans games this season, starting in every one of them. Along with this Ingram has managed to average an impressive 24.3 PPG for New Orleans on a 46.6% field-goal percentage.
We’ve also witnessed Ingram improving his shot from behind the foul line as he is averaging just below 86% from the free-throw line, compared to a 67.5% free-throw percentage last year. Ingram has been important to the Pelicans who still remain in contention to make the Playoffs with NBA basketball set to resume on the 31st of July. For these reasons, it is essential that the Pelicans try to hold onto Ingram in the offseason when his contract runs out.
Ingram will likely sign a max contract when the NBA season comes to a close. With the way he has blossomed as a player during his first season with the Pelicans, the front office must do their best to hold onto Ingram and keep him as a regular starter at New Orleans as this young and exciting Pelicans team continues to grow and gain experience. Ingram could be the ‘Chosen One’ and help guide this team to their first title.
With all things considered, one must admit that the New Orleans Pelicans are in fact an extremely exciting prospect for the future, once players stay at the Smoothie King Center.
Keeping the squad injury-free is another important factor for the team so that the players can continue to develop and gain experience within the league. Without a doubt, the Pelicans can be a future Powerhouse in the NBA and it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold for the franchise.