The New Orleans Pelicans are not a very good team, but this obviously does not qualify as news.
We’re also all aware of the fact that the last winning season occurred two years ago, where promptly in it’s aftermath, Monty Williams was unceremoniously fired after fulfilling the reported mandate of reaching the postseason. However, when you go look under the hood of the 2014-15 engine today, that campaign appears to be a lemon dressed in playoff clothing bought off the clearance rack at Walmart because that team never enjoyed a really good extended stretch where they strung together a bunch of victories. And to further drill this point home, the Pelicans since that one very short-lived happy moment have most certainly not done anything of note.
Indeed, a quick glance at the splits in the W/L record two years ago reveals New Orleans enjoyed their highest winning percentage in April, an intentionally short month on the schedule. Prior to that finishing 6-3 record, the Pelicans posted an 8-7 mark in March, 6-5 in February, 9-6 in January, 9-8 in December and 6-8 in November. Yeah, the 1-0 October record doesn’t deserve more than this quick mention because it isn’t getting framed, Dell.
Since the last NBA lockout — before the start of the 2011-12 season for those fresher faces reading this — only two teams have failed to post a 10+ win month. Care to guess the mules before I pin the tail on the donkeys?
Here’s a hint: If you haven’t been paying particularly close attention to sports news of late, and who could blame you... cough, politics... Philadelphia is not one of the teams on the short list.
This is the first time the Sixers have won 10 games in a month since January 2012 - 5 YEARS #TrustTheProcess— PHLSportsNation (@PHLSportsNation) January 31, 2017
In case you didn’t read the tweet closely enough, the 76ers have won 10+ games twice in the span of one month since the last lockout despite The Process eating up the majority of Philadelphia’s opportunities.
Okay, here goes: the table is in descending order, starting with teams that have met the criteria most recently and works its way down to the two biggest losers of the group.
|Team||Date of last 10+ win month|
|Atlanta Hawks||January 2017 (11-4)|
|Boston Celtics||January 2017 (10-4)|
|Golden State Warriors||January 2017 (12-2)|
|Houston Rockets||January 2017 (10-7)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||January 2017 (10-5)|
|San Antonio Spurs||January 2017 (10-5)|
|Washington Wizards||January 2017 (12-4)|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||December 2016 (12-4)|
|Memphis Grizzlies||December 2016 (11-6)|
|Toronto Raptors||December 2016 (10-4)|
|Utah Jazz||December 2016 (10-5)|
|LA Clippers||November 2016 (11-5)|
|Charlotte Hornets||March 2016 (13-3)|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||March 2016 (11-5)|
|Miami Heat||March 2016 (10-5)|
|Orlando Magic||December 2015 (10-5)|
|Indiana Pacers||November 2015 (11-2)|
|Portland Trail Blazers||March 2015 (10-6)|
|Detroit Pistons||January 2015 (10-7)|
|Phoenix Suns||January 2015 (10-5)|
|Chicago Bulls||December 2014 (11-4)|
|Dallas Mavericks||December 2014 (10-5)|
|Brooklyn Nets||March 2014 (12-4)|
|New York Knicks||March 2014 (11-5)|
|Denver Nuggets||March 2013 (13-2)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||March 2012 (11-6)|
|Milwaukee Bucks||March 2012 (10-7)|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||January 2012 (10-8)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||January 2011 (12-4)|
|Sacramento Kings||March 2006 (11-6)|
First of all, my deepest apologies, Sacramento. Since the final days of Rick Adelman pacing the sidelines, Peja Stojakovic raining threes and Mike Bibby, arguably the best point guard in Kings franchise history, running one of the most feared offenses, Sacramento has gone on to lay the league’s biggest egg while trying to win ball games. That’s 11 seasons without a playoff berth, nine different coaches and a 296-557 record (a winning percentage of 34.7%).
No wonder DeMarcus Cousins is always furious.
Before you think New Orleans is a step above, consider the fact that the Pelicans are 176-267 over the last six seasons. I doubt anyone would find it appropriate to boast about a 39.7 winning percentage. Head to head, the Pelicans sport an uninspiring 11-9 record against the Kings since Chris Paul left town.
Or, how about that in their 15 seasons of existence, the New Orleans franchise has made it past the first round of the playoffs just once. While the Kings have two less postseason berths during the same time frame, they’ve advanced further. Moreover, one shouldn’t discount the 8-year run the Kings had when they were considered one of the best basketball teams in the league. Three semifinals and one finals appearance in the Western Conference is nothing to scoff at. Their fans remember the good times.
Conversely, what’s supposed to be the draw for the dwindling-by-the-day New Orleans faithful? Not the play of this season; not the exciting brand of basketball promised by Alvin Gentry when he arrived into town; and most certainly not the illustrious history littered with wonderful memories of multiple, successive years of complete dominance.
Many local fans were happy when Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson signed with Houston, but perhaps they should heed the former starting shooting guard’s words he uttered this past December.
"When I look back on it, the only guys that's been there is Anthony Davis, and since me and Ryan left, there's been a lot of transition, a lot of guys in and out," Gordon said. "So what's the stability there? I'm not really worried about what's going on down there, but I just know what happened down there and my role changed year by year. So we really had only one good year (2014-15). It's been tough -- it was a roller coaster there."
Guess what, the Pelicans remain stuck on the roller coaster as evidenced by the highest of highs — like the win against the Spurs — to the lowest of lows — getting squashed like a grape at home by the worst team in the league, the Brooklyn Nets.
For once, injuries are not present to hide several pertinent facts: the overall talent level is questionable at best, and many of the primary pieces do not operate well in Alvin Gentry’s quick-hitting system, either because of fit issues or coaches failing to get the message across to the players.
- Omer Asik was re-signed to a 5-year contract to fill an Andrew Bogut-like role, yet now in his second year of the deal, he can’t even get off the bench. Almost ditto for Alexis Ajinca.
- With the Pelicans shifting to small ball on a full-time basis, Anthony Davis has become the starting center, yet he continues to maintain he prefers playing power forward. It’s difficult to talk him out of it considering he has suffered a number of recent injuries and team wins have not followed. New Orleans is 8-10 since AD started at center against the Dallas Mavericks back on December 26.
- Once healthy, Jrue Holiday was supposed to mimic Steve Nash in the offense, but he’s a better performer when he lets the game come to him, choosing his moments to attack, versus initiating the offense every time down the floor. This is best evidenced in close games as the Pelicans have woefully underperformed in clutch moments.
- The Pelicans fastest and most comfortable facilitator, Tim Frazier, is mired on the bench because the coaching staff has opted to go with two primary ball handlers since Tyreke Evans’ return to the lineup and keep them surrounded by more proven shooters and lengthier defenders.
- When on the floor together, Dante Cunningham and Solomon Hill are too one dimensional in that they derive the majority of their offense from spotting up behind the three-point arc and launching jumpers when opportunity arises. No playmaking, no offensive rebounding, they contribute absolutely nothing else on the scoring side of the ball.
The New Orleans Pelicans are currently 19-31 and have the sixth-worst record in the league. Through 50 games last season, the injury-riddled team was 18-32, lo and behold, with also the sixth-worst record. It’s just a terribly depressing time for fans, but the lack of highs have been an ongoing problem for years.
The evidence is there: Anthony Davis, surrounded by all his key contributors outside of Quincy Pondexter, is on another badly losing team. Moreover, all of the rosters he’s been a member of since landing in New Orleans have failed to post one obvious very good month of play. That’s just eerily too similar to what DeMarcus Cousins has endured since the Kings selected him in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft.
I’m sorry, but I fail to see enough positive indications of a supposed process building towards something tantalizing good in New Orleans, rather only mountains of information that the current structure is failing it’s superstar once more.