It is not hard to understand why people are not talking very favorably about the New Orleans Pelicans. They were not a very good team last season. They only won 33 games and were nowhere close to even sniffing the playoffs
They could score some points (third in the NBA with 115.4 points per game), but they struggled to stop teams from scoring points (27th in points per game allowed—116.8). Of course, it didn’t help that the best player on the team (Anthony Davis) only played in 56 games and made it clear he didn’t want to be there.
Now with Davis gone, it is not hard to understand why oddsmakers do not expect much out of the Pelicans next season. It is also not hard to understand why few think they will meet those lose expectations.
However, with the moves they have made in free agency and the draft, an argument could be made that the Pelicans are being overlooked.
With the guys they got in the trade with the Lakers (Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart), the guys they drafted (Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes), and their free agent acquisition (J.J. Reddick), added to their roster, they could have a very good starting five.
More than likely, it will be Williamson and Ingram at the forwards with Reddick (or Ball) and Jrue Holiday in the backcourt. It remains to be seen how soon Jaxson Hayes will be ready to be a serious contributor, so he and Jahlil Okafor could split time at center.
If head coach Alvin Gentry can get them playing on the same page, they could be a formidable starting five next season. Josh Hart and E’Twaun Moore will give them some good minutes of the bench. Whoever doesn’t start between J.J. Reddick and Lonzo Ball will be an asset coming off the bench as well.
These guys could be very good next year.
Good enough to bet on? Well—that depends. As of Sunday night, they are +8000 to win it all next year at 888sport.com and +2500 to win the West. Are they going to win either? Probably, not. They are going to need time to gel and figure out how to work together before they can become a legit contender.
However, it wouldn’t hurt to put a small wager on them while the odds are as high as they are. But there is one wager worth considering right now—their win total. FanDuel has them at 38.5 while DraftKIngs has them at 35.5, and PointsBet has them down for 35.5 as well.
They opened at 31.5, so expectations are already starting to rise.
History favors teams with the No. 1 pick covering the over on their win total the following season. In the last 17 seasons, teams with the No. 1 pick have covered the over on their preseason win totals 11 times. With the roster that Williamson will have working with him, it just isn’t hard to see the Pelicans winning at least 39 games next season.