The New Orleans Pelicans had a whole lot of things go wrong for a second straight season. Name the biggest disappointment or theme to emerge from the 2016-17 campaign. (It can be a specific individual, part of a player's game, new strategy, anything!)
Jason: Cheick Diallo’s minutes
By far the biggest disappointment this season has to be how little Diallo has played. In my opinion, the rookie has the potential to be something special, especially after he gets a chance to spend lots of hours with Davis and Boogie. I am looking forward to Diallo getting significant playing time next season as the first big of the bench!
Kevin: Jrue Holiday
I warned of this in my season previews — my biggest disappointment is Jrue Holiday. He came back healthy after his absence and at times played like a top 10 point guard. However, those stretches seemed like flashes in a pan. Now most people are saying he isn't even a point guard after showing those moments of brilliance. The one thing I know about him is that he is an incredible and versatile defender. Outside of that, I don't know what he is. Is he a lead guard? Is he really better off of the ball? Will he ever play with aggression on the offensive end? Does he like it here in New Orleans? Does he actually like playing basketball? What's his contract going to look like? Does he fit what we want to do? Is he a leader? Does he need to be a leader? I don't have the answers to any of these questions and that's what is so disappointing.
Isaac: Post-Cousins record
Without a doubt, the end to the season was a letdown. While I glorified the Cousins-Davis connection in the best surprises roundtable, did any of us foresee the rocky start? I believe I predicted a 15-10 finish to the year, but the denouement was much more dour. Although I couldn't blame Davis at all or Cousins more than just a little bit, it took me by surprise that the guards had to learn to play with the pairing. Holiday conspicuously had an acculturation period, and the coaching staff seemingly did little to smoothen the process. While I don't think it inexorably means a rocky road for the next year, changes in both strategy and execution have to take shape.
David: Quincy Pondexter’s injury
Quincy Pondexter being unable to get back on the court is very disappointing. It's been two years since he last played and yet his return is still spoken of with measured doubt by the organization.
Zach: Buddy Hield’s departure
I'm disappointed Buddy Hield had to go. I get that it had to be done in order to land a talent like DeMarcus Cousins, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. The most stable, well run franchises in all sports are the ones that draft young talent and watch them grow into contributors. Will the Pelicans ever follow that path again after drafting Davis?
Oleh: Pre-Boogie offense
After playing the 82 games on the schedule, the New Orleans Pelicans finished among the bottom five offenses in the league — 26th with a 103.3 rating for those requiring specifics. However, things were even worse prior to the trade for DeMarcus Cousins. Many automatically blame the coaching staff, but digging into the stats, the team enjoyed more open shot attempts than most yet sat on the opposite side of the spectrum when it came to makes. No one will confuse the uptempo era with success anytime soon but realize Alvin Gentry is still waiting to be handed his favorite deck of cards.
Brett: Omer Asik
It is hard to say if this is all Asik’s fault, but he has declined as a player since his first few years serving as Joakim Noah’s backup in Chicago. Once thought to have a promising career ahead, it is tough to say whether Asik even has a place in the NBA anymore. And no one seems too certain what this illness he is battling is, but he does not look good. He was declining as a player and now his health itself is in question. It is disappointing in every sense of the word.
Ryan: Solomon Hill
Hill was a huge disappointment in my mind. He was so hot and cold all year, well mostly cold, and should have been more dependable than he was. A guy who is making over 10 million a year should at least average over 10 points a game. His defense is pretty solid, but his play on the offensive end is abysmal, which often makes him a net negative on the court.
Travis: Season start
The biggest disappointment to me was the start of the season: 0-8 and then 2-10. Everybody was 0-0 at one point... and the Pels had that many wins after too many calendar days vanished. Another slow start in 2017-18 — already implanted deep within all fans' brainswaiting, metastasizing, growing into something even scarier... —surely brings about the end of Alvin Gentry and may lead to a Dell Demps dismissal, as well.