As the team’s record indicates, the Pelicans are still in search of their first win on the season. Although the final scores show the margins of defeat trending in the wrong direction, the team had some positives stemming from the first week of play. The defense is proving to be respectable in a lot of areas, and New Orleans has done well to limit opponents to one shot.
The biggest problem has come from the other end of the floor. Shots are not dropping, notably from behind the arc and ones of the open to wide-open variety throughout. In his post-practice comments yesterday, Solomon Hill offered a straightforward solution.
“Keep shooting. I mean that’s what the best do. We watched in the playoffs Steph have a bad night, come back, keep shooting. I looked at Wesley Matthews last night. I don’t even care about what he did before me made that big shot... If you know you can shoot it, shoot it.”
On a personal level, Hill stated that he will look to make the game easier by doing more on defense. He specifically made mention of a steal that led to a dunk against the Spurs. But don’t be fooled. He, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and the rest of the players slumping badly want to break out of their funks and complement Anthony Davis immediately. Have a look: they’ve been putting forth extra work in practice to make it a reality.
Like the Pelicans, the Bucks made the playoffs two years ago, but the glory was short-lived. Milwaukee slipped 8 games in the standings in 2015-16 and were forced to return back to the drawing board. Their big free agent signing, Greg Monroe, failed to solidify the paint defensively, and he has reportedly been on the trade block for quite some time now.
Despite the step backwards, the Bucks still possess a number of enviable young players including Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker, but they’ve already lost Khris Middleton, another key piece, for at least most of this season.
Milwaukee’s lone win came against the Brooklyn Nets, a two-point advantage that was fueled by Rashad Vaughn off the bench. In 27 minutes of action, the rookie made 6 of 12 three-point shots leading to a game-high 22 points. On paper, he and Matthew Dellavedova have been the best deep threats, but Mirza Teletovic lurks. Last season he led the Phoenix Suns with 181 triples at a very healthy 39.3% clip — the Pelicans cannot allow him get hot.
If the defense remains league-average and a number of players outside of Davis find some confidence, the New Orleans Pelicans should be able to put an end to a losing streak that’s now stretched to 8 games if you consider the exhibition schedule.