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Pelicans plummet in power rankings as playoff hopes vanish

Where's Jim Mora?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Four losses. That's what the New Orleans Pelicans delivered last week with the possibility of clawing back into the playoff picture. A deficit of three and a half games ballooned to seven as the Utah Jazz, finally on the edge of healthy, reeled off four victories of their own.

Playoff odds for this team ten games under .500 were bad. The recent run of ineptitude has turned those odds microscopic. Four different models place the Pelicans with the sixth worst record in the league and finishing between 32 and 33 wins. The over/under on this team in October was 47.5 wins.

Proj W Proj L Playoff % Draft Position
ESPN BPI 33 49 1.2% 6th
Basketball Reference 32.1 49.9 0.7% 6th
Five Thirty Eight 33 49 4% 6th
Number Fire 32.4 49.6 0.7% 6th

Recently a number of people covering the Pelicans have said the team shouldn't tank because the odds of getting Ben Simmons in the lottery were awful. This is true, as a sixth place finish in the lottery provides a 6.3% chance at the first pick, a 7.1% chance at the second overall pick, and an 8.1% chance at the third selection. Totaled that means the Pelicans would have 21.5% chance of picking in the top three. Those aren't very good odds.

Those odds dwarf the possibility the Pelicans make the playoffs.

If the logic against tanking is "the lottery odds are long" stare into the abyss that is the odds the Pelicans somehow turn it around and make the playoffs. Power rankers took it easy on the Pelicans to some degree, but all moved New Orleans down a couple slots.

NBA.com

Last Week: 19 - This Week: 23

The Pelicans' offense had been rolling, but Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson (5-for-36 combined from 3-point range) have gone cold as they've lost four straight games (without Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon). With that streak, and Thursday's loss to the Lakers in particular, Dell Demps should make his reservations for the Lottery and stay busy on the phone with the trade deadline just 10 days away.

ESPN

Last Week: 19 - This Week: 22

A week ago, New Orleans could take solace in the belief it had become a .500 team (17-17) since that 1-11 nightmare start filled with injuries. But an 0-4 week, with a home loss to the Lakers overshadowing everything else, has perched a new cloud over the Pels, with the ground to make up for the eighth seed realistically too vast now for any trade in the next 10 days to cover.

Sports Illustrated

Last Week: 20 - This Week: 22

Tendonitis in his surgically-repaired knee will keep Tyreke Evans out until after the break, and the Pelicans are on a four-game losing streak without him. It’s been a Murphy’s law kind of season for New Orleans, which is now seven games out of the eight seed. It may be time to pack up this wagon and gamble on keeping Ben Simmons in Louisiana come June.

CBS Sports

Last Week: 19 - This Week: 23

New Orleans climbed within striking distance of the playoffs, then a stiff schedule stretch dropped them cold. Now Tyreke Evans is out until after the All-Star break. You wonder if a tank job is around the corner.