Yesterday the crew of Locked on Pelicans looked in the rearview mirror to recap and grade the offseason. Now, with the New Orleans Pelicans season getting underway tonight, we go on record to make some record predictions.
What is your prediction for the Pelicans record? Do they make the playoffs
Jake- I have the team at 43-39. That should, should, be good for the 8th seed–but perhaps only by a game. The top four seeds in the West are set, the next four seeds are up for grabs between seven or eight teams. And you can make a case for almost any of those teams to get it. That is how close the Western Conference is. The Pelicans have two All-Stars in their bigs which, regardless of if you feel the pairing will work or not longterm, is enough to get this team some wins. The Pelicans also play defense which can often be a difference maker. I say it is and gets them back into the playoffs.
Alex – 45-37. I think the Pels slip into the playoffs in the 8 seed and we all get to see if the Pels dual bigs is the kryptonite to the Warriors.
Jermaine – 44-38. The Clippers, Jazz and Grizzlies will each slip this season, which opens up an opportunity for the Pelicans. Notching 18 wins or more against the Eastern Conference would allow us the luxury of contending for a 7 or 8-seed with just a .500 record against the Western Conference.
Raby – As the resident pessimist of the staff, I see the Pelicans finishing above .500 but barely. I think they finish 42-40 but a handful of long losing streaks through the season will prevent them from making the playoffs. The West is a battleground and I can see a situation where the Pelicans win as many as 48 games and still miss the playoffs. Besides the obvious contenders like Golden State, Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, I anticipate at least two teams (possibly the Pelicans) far outstripping expectations and making a playoff push. This is no insult to the Pelicans — the Western Conference is going to a bloodbath.
Rory – 45-37. Many are undervaluing the chemistry between Davis, Cousins, and Holiday. Between 17 free games at the end of last season to work out kinks and a healthy offseason training together, I think our big three starts off on the right foot. I am also optimistic both Clark and Moore will surprise people alongside our All Stars. I could see a scenario in which the Pelicans go as far up as the 5th or 6th seed. As Jermaine said, the Clippers, Grizzlies, and Jazz will all slip, and I refuse to believe that both the Rockets and Thunder will turn their head-scratching combination of stars into a flawless basketball machine. Both are likely playoff-bound, but I don’t think they are the sure-fire unstoppable forces we all assume.
Fernando- 47-35. I think the Pels make the playoffs, and potentially a 5 or 6 seed. I don’t think the bottom half of the west will be as good as people think. So after the GSW, Spurs, Rockets, and maybe OKC I think it’s wide open.
Jason – 43-39, earning the 9th seed in the West. I try to be realistic, which unfortunately often leads to me being pessimistic with this team. I think that the tandem of Cousins and Davis is enough to lead the Pelicans to a respectable record above .500. In literally any other year, this would be enough for a playoff lock! But in the 2017-’18 Western Conference, there will be at least 11 teams with legitimate shots at 40+ wins and the playoffs. The first month or so of the regular season was already going to be tough, but the Rondo injury throws a wrench into a lot of the team’s plans. So for a third straight season, I see a pretty discouraging start in New Orleans. Rondo will be back, and I actually see the team finishing the season strong, but with the margin of error smaller than ever, I don’t see it being enough.
Luis- 42-40. I honestly have no idea if that’s gonna be good enough for the playoffs, but I don’t think so. The bottom half of the West is gonna be a bloodbath and whether or not they make it is gonna depend on how the teams surrounding them do. The threshold for the eighth will almost certainly be higher, but we’ll have to see. The teams in the same tier have their own flaws. Clippers will almost certainly be worse. Jazz doubled down on defense and are relying on some unproven guys to fill in for Hayward. Portland is the opposite and have some firepower. Nuggets still have questions to answer at the PG spot. Grizz are completing their transition to a new identity. It’s gonna be a wild season in the West and we do not know much right now about the teams at the bottom of the playoff race. Hopefully things look clearer in a month or so.