A Season in review for the Pelicans

The Pelicans have a disappointing end to a tumultuous season.

The 2018-19 season was a wild ride for the New Orleans Pelicans, especially with some of their stars players on new teams or pursuing different teams this offseason. Also injuries of their star players hurt the Pelicans throughout the season. They finished the season on a disappointing 33-49. Expectations were a lot higher for the Pelicans after making it to the second round of the playoffs the previous year.

Start of Season
After the first twenty-seven games of the season the Pelicans started just a little bit below .500. Pelicans started their first 5 games of the season 4-1, which is a pretty strong start for a team that just lost an all-star player (Demarcus Cousins). Three of those four wins were coming off teams in the playoffs right now which are the Rockets, Nets, and Clippers. After those couple of huge wins to start the season their performance started to decrease going on a six game losing streak. This showed the Pelicans were going to be inconsistent, as in previous years. So through the first twenty-seven games the Pelicans started 13-14, which is not what people were expecting, coming off a second round in the playoffs in the 2017-18 season. But also in the 2017-18 season the Pels got off to a decent start but managed to get it together to make a playoff push.

Pelicans Cheick Diallo and Ian Clark help their teammate, Kendrick Williams, up off the hardwood after taking a tough charge. Photo credit: Chris Taylor

Middle of the Season
Getting toward All-Star break there was a lot of drama around the Pelicans organization. First off injuries had hurt the Pelicans at this point. Key players such as Nikola Mirotic, Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Elfrid Payton, and Julius Randle were all injured at one point. Then once they all started to begin to get healthy again, Anthony Davis made it clear that he did not want to be a Pelican anymore by sending out a trade request. Davis’ trade request sent shockwaves throughout New Orleans. Everyone assumed Davis was heading to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers even tried to give up Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Rajon Rondo, Michael Beasley and a first round pick for him. When you saw the Lakers offer that many guys just for Anthony Davis, you would think that Pelicans would accept this trade, but they did not. They traded Nikola Mirotic to the Milwaukee Bucks. They did not trade Davis at all. Shortly after the trade deadline the Pelicans fired their General Manager, Dell Demps.

End of the Season
At the end of the season Pelicans started to shut down some of their players. First player they shut down was Anthony Davis and also there was a lot of controversy. The Pelicans were trying to sit Anthony Davis for the remainder of the season and the league would let it happen but the Pelicans would have to pay the price. They would have had to pay $100,000 for each game for Davis to sit out the remainder of the season. Instead of paying the money they rested Davis some games and they played him for the rest of the games. With about six games left in the season the Pelicans decided to just shut down Davis for the remainder of the season.
Jrue Holiday is the other player who the Pelicans decided to shut down for the rest of the season. Jrue Holiday had a solid season averaging a career high 21.1 PPG, 7.7 assists and 5 rebounds. With Holiday entering his prime the Pelicans want to make sure he stays healthy. This season Holiday was in and out of the starting the lineup due to injuries. Late in the season Holiday was once again hit with a injury, an abdominal strain. This led to the decision of the Pelicans shutting down Holiday for the rest of the season.

Kids battle in a competition during timeout in the 1st quarter. Photo Credit: Phillip Petty III

Win or Lose it’s always fun at a Pel’s game
Despite a losing season it was always fun at a Pelicans game. Unlike the Saints game in New Orleans the Pelicans game has way more entertainment. Throughout the season the Pelicans were able to make fans have a fun time by putting on great entertainment. They had performances by some local people such as Trombone Shorty and also people across the world such as Flight Crew. Some nights when there were no acts booked for the game they will make up something creative. For example March 26 versus the Hawks nobody was booked to perform at halftime. So instead of letting the fans be bored during the half, they hurried up and put together a relay race between some of the Pelicans staff. You can tell that the fans enjoyed the relay race. Other nights such as bobblehead night, costume night, kids night and et cetera. All of those nights bring joy to the faces inside the Smoothie KIng Center.

Looking forward to offseason and next season
Going into the offseason the Pelicans will have a chip on their shoulder. That is trading the six time all-star Anthony Davis. There are many teams that are willing to trade for a MVP caliber player like Davis but there is only one team who can land him. Sources say the Los Angeles Lakers are still the front runners for Davis. Then the Boston Celtics are right behind them which would be a great addition to their roster. But giving up Gordon Hayward, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier will be a big risk. Another team is the New York Knicks and if the Pelicans play their cards right in this trade they can endup with two top 10 picks. This could lead them to drafting top prospects such as Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, or Ja Morant. Without a doubt this offseason will be interesting for the Pelicans.