ESPN released their Summer Forecast West Standings and the New Orleans Pelicans were picked to finish as the 7th Seed, sandwiched in between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks. This is probably the most conservative position to place the Pelicans since Dallas and Portland are expected to take a significant step backwards in 2015-16.
Given the records of the top six teams the past few seasons, the prognosticators at ESPN could not project a top six finish for the Pels. The Oklahoma City Thunder are also expected to return to prominence, assuming OKC can avoid the injury bug, this season. However, if the health of OKC is a given, then can we assume the Pelicans are going to finally be healthy for the majority of the season? If so, the 6th seed is not an unrealistic goal.
Last season the Pelicans were forecasted to finish 10th in the West with a 39-43 record. Ultimately they finished 8th at 45-37 barely scratching out the final playoff spot thanks in large part to this shot.
Still doesn't get old watching that.
Seventh in the West makes a lot of sense considering the talent and continuity of the six teams ahead of New Orleans. Might Anthony Davis, thanks in large part to Alvin Gentry and Darren Erman, exceed those projections? Considering his performance to date, I wouldn't bet against it.