As the NBA began their resumption of play in the Orlando, Florida bubble, our New Orleans Pelicans were labeled as the most exciting team coming in due to our talented young core in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, among others.
The push for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference had come down to the wire with five teams in the bubble — Blazers, Suns, Spurs, Grizzlies and Pelicans — but the Pelicans starting off the restart going 2-4 destroyed their chances almost instantly.
After a rough first two games — one in which the Pelicans were down over 30 points in the first half to the Clippers — it was made clear that the Pelicans were not cut out to be a playoff team this season.
The 2019-20 season for the New Orleans Pelicans was an absolute rollercoaster for fans while the squad looked extremely inconsistent.
Starting off the regular season in October without our top draft pick in Zion Williamson had people extremely concerned about his health. Zion was dealing with a knee injury that had seen him out for multiple games during the Summer League as well.
With Zion’s injury lingering, we saw the Pelicans front office and coaching staff take an incredibly conservative approach in bringing him back, as he did not suit up for a regular season game until mid-January.
Williamson received an excused absence from the NBA in order to attend a family emergency once in the bubble. This absence held Zion back from a conditioning standpoint, reducing his minutes significantly upon return in the bubble where he was expected to flourish and show his true dominance.
He came back as the force we remember on offense in the bubble, averaging 16.8 points in 19.1 minutes per game on 58.3 percent shooting, but he had been underwhelming on the defensive end, seemingly sleepwalking through many possessions and contributing to the letdown of the Pelicans’ overall structure in the process.
For many Pelicans fans, this restart of NBA action was a time of promise for our young New Orleans team, as we were led to believe the Pelicans would make a strong push for the eighth and final playoff spot, but with Zion getting small minutes and inconsistent play from starting point guard Lonzo Ball, it was made clear this was not our year to succeed, rather a year of learning and gaining chemistry among teammates.
The New Orleans Pelicans have, without a doubt, the NBA’s most encouraging young core in the NBA with the promising Zion Williamson, All-Star Brandon Ingram, top 10 draft pick Jaxson Hayes, and our crafty floor general in Lonzo Ball. It is only a matter of time until it all comes together for this team.
With many fans discouraged in the way Head Coach Alvin Gentry dispersed minutes on the floor for players, it appears as though the Pelicans will be looking for a new head coach throughout the offseason as Gentry got fired on Saturday, Aug. 15, less than 72 hours after their season concluded.
Though it was a bumpy year for Pelicans fans, the sky's the limit for this team as this is only the beginning. With our star players being in their early 20’s, it is only a matter of time until the chemistry and NBA experience wears off on them.