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The Mystery of The Pelicans Disappointing Season

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What happened to the Pelicans this year? After a very opportunistic playoff appearance, especially against the reigning champions Golden State, the 2016 season has been a joke. The year is almost over, and NOLA is sitting at 30-50, last in their division by a large margin, and 12th in the Western Conference. The answer boils down to one thing: injuries.

Pelicans

Photo by Pelican Debrief

The Pelican were riddled with violent injuries all year long, including both the bench and lots of the starting lineup. This means chemistry problems and a below-average lineup have been a large part of New Orleans’ campaign. It all started with starting SF Tyreke Evans getting knee surgery in late October of the preseason and missing the next 2 months of play. Since then, here is a shortened (yes, shortened) list of the injuries Pelicans’ players endured:

  • Tyreke Evans. Another knee injury. Out for season
  • Eric Gordon. Broken finger. Out for season
  • Norris Cole. Back problems. Missed month
  • Anthony Davis. Knee injury and surgery. Out for season
  • Jrue Holiday. Eye injury. Out for season
  • Alonzo Gee. Quadricep injury. Out for season
  • Omer Asik, Ryan Anderson each missed 16 games for various reasons

Four of these players are starters, and were ruled out for the remainder of the season! That’s an unprecedented level of hardship. This year was also the year Anthony Davis signed an NBA record 5-year, $145 million salary. He is on the path to top 3 NBA player and luckily they will have plenty more years to capitalize on the phenom’s future. Hopefully, he’ll be able to get back to his MVP level of the 2014-2015 season.

During that year, it was looking like we saw what the future held. A young, talented team just waiting to break out and start getting deep into the playoffs. Instead, they started the season at the bottom of the standings, 1-11 through the first 12 games. By then, the basketball world knew something was wrong.

People tried to give Anthony Davis the credit he deserved but it was a disappointing start and his numbers and gravity were nothing compared to the playoffs of last year. Another problem was the coaching signing of Alvin Gentry. Admittedly, he was given the reigns of a depleted team. However, he instituted a new plan of attack that featured too much three point shooting for AD, and didn’t incorporate a modern offense to make up for ex-Head Coach Monty Williams’ strong defensive standards. This all led to poor coaching trust, bad chemistry, and loose leadership. None of these are tolerable for winning basketball.

The Pelicans have entirely lost the 2016 season for nothing, basically a postponement of great things to come. Next season they will start afresh. AD should be close to, if not complete with, recovery by the start of next season. The rest of the starters will be back on their feet, too. Alvin Gentry doesn’t appear to be losing his job, a miracle considering the management revamping that’s taken place throughout the past couple years. The mystery of the Pelicans season is not complete, but at least we know the killer isn’t going to be there forever. There shouldn’t be an injury fiasco like this ahead of them anymore. Chemistry and time are the cures for this team, and the young group should keep their hopes up for next year.

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About Aaron Davis

Aaron is a staff writer and the Co-Founder of NBALEAD. He has been following the NBA for over 15 years. Graduated from Purdue University.

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