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Power Rankings and Win Projections as the New Orleans Pelicans prepare for tip-off

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Just hours remain before the season gets started.

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Last year we tracked six different NBA power rankings and with just mere hours to go until tip-off many have obliged to return to the fray. The New Orleans Pelicans have suffered a wave of injuries this October already with five different players rehabbing something significant enough to potentially miss time. Luke Babbitt and Alexis Ajinca appear to be the closest to a possible return with Omer Asik nipping at their heels.

Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole, and Quincy Pondexter will be out for more substantial time. That makes the guard depth perilously thin, especially considering the minutes restriction that Jrue Holiday will be playing under in the near term.

NBA.com

Last Time: 8 - This Week: 9

The season hasn't started yet and the Pelicans are already beset by injuries again. Tyreke Evans and Norris Cole are out and Jrue Holiday is on a minutes restriction, so they're depending on Eric Gordon to handle the ball and make plays. They have the league's toughest first 20 games according to last year's records and four back-to-backs in their first 12.

ESPN

Last Time: 8 - This Week: 11

The Pels have too many injuries already to list 'em all in this small space, but the West is so ridiculously stacked that no one seems to believe they can finish higher than No. 7 -- or maybe No. 6 if Memphis tumbles -- even at full strength. Goal No. 1, of course, is getting the first 70-game season out of Anthony Davis

Sports Illustrated

Last Time: N/A - This Week: 9

Tyreke Evans’s second knee procedure in six months drops an already-hurting team a couple of spots. Still, it’s not that hard to see us moving into an alternate universe where Anthony Davis goes supernova and lifts a team into the Finals very soon. It's exciting to think he might already be good enough to do that. I’m willing to bet Alvin Gentry’s buttoned-down approach works immediate wonders for the Pelicans and boosts the supporting cast. They're better than you think, if they can overcome the injuries out of the gate.

Fox Sports

Last Time: N/A - This Week: 9

The big story in New Orleans this year will be the growth of Anthony Davis into a true MVP candidate under new coach Alvin Gentry. But a key subplot is the Pelicans’ health. They’ve struggled through injuries during Davis’ young career. If they can stay fit, expect big things.

USA Today

Last Time: N/A - This Week: 9

As long as Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday can stay healthy (they failed to do so last season), superstar center Anthony Davis can lead his team to the postseason again.

Win Projections

Last year the computers didn't like the Pelicans roster. Thankfully, neither did Dell Demps and a couple trades really improved the roster. This year if there's a computer projection piece out there I'm going to try to get it in here. The PT-PM model by Andrew Johnson at Nylon Calculus has the Pelicans at 45 wins. Nathan Walker's Usage Adjusted metric puts the total at 43. Five Thirty-Eight's CARMELO is slightly more bullish at 46 wins.

Bill Simmons covers the Pelicans at about 42:50 in his most recent podcast. Simmons picked the over (48) and called it a lock for the Pelicans to win 50, a far cry from his previous predictions of doom and gloom over the Crescent City.