New Orleans Pelicans: Why The Pelicans Will Win The Race For 8th


In a season long marathon that’s coming down to the wire, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, and New Orleans Pelicans are neck and neck for the final spot in the West

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Currently the Thunder are ahead of Phoenix by 2.5 games and New Orleans by 1 game, but with a little over a month left in the regular season, it’s the New Orleans Pelicans who will be victorious in this photo-finish race.

First off, it’s unfortunate that the Pelicans and Thunder have been riddled with injuries all season, but Dell Demps, the GM of the Pelicans, has done a fantastic job acquiring hardworking role players in the absence of Anthony Davis and company. The acquisitions of Dante Cunningham, Quincy Pondexter, and Norris Cole have been astronomical. Far larger than the Thunder’s acquisitions of Enes Kanter, Kyle Singler, and DJ Augustin, and even larger than the Suns acquisition of Brandon Knight.

Somewhere along the lines this season, something went totally bad behind the scenes in Phoenix because trading Goran Dragic made zero sense. They’re falling behind in this race for 8th and it seems like they’re going to go in a whole new direction next season with their style of play.

The New Orleans Pelicans have struggled all season with injuries to Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Eric Gordon, and it has been a “next man up” mentality. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the consistency from players like Austin Rivers earlier in the season to help carry the load, so it was crucial that Dell Demps filled in those holes with hardworking, energy players that defend well, and he’s done just that with Dante, Q-Pon, and Norris.

There’s a trust system in New Orleans, and Dell is building a team the right way. He has all-star quality players in Jrue, Tyreke, and Eric to compliment Anthony Davis, and he has role players to compliment the starters. DJ Augustin is that type of quality pick up for the Thunder, but Kyle Singler and Enes Kanter seems more like a “swing for the fence” type of trade that will eventually turn into a pop fly.

Come April, the Thunder will fall short of the playoffs due to injuries, and the Pelicans will sneak in because of the gritty players that Demps has acquired. The Thunder have a tougher schedule than the Pelicans to finish the season, so even if they tie, the Pelicans own the tiebreaker.

We all know had the Thunder been healthy majority of the season, they would’ve finished with the first or second seed in the West. But injuries are a part of the game, so the recent trades by the Thunder will put Scott Brooks on the hot-seat next season. They supposedly have a “offensive-saavy” big man who can rebound the ball, so its championship or bust for them next season.

As for the New Orleans Pelicans, don’t be surprised if they give Golden State a run for their money in the playoffs. They’ll have all of their guys back, making them one of the deepest teams in the playoffs.

Time will tell; I just know I’m going to be saying “I told you so” to a lot of people! The New Orleans Pelicans will make the playoffs.

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