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NBA Preview: Pelicans visit Denver with developmental and experimentation minutes on agenda

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The Nuggets just ended New Orleans season and now they have to see them again??

NBA: Denver Nuggets at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

So, as you know by now, New Orleans won’t be in the 2017 NBA Playoffs this season, the final nail in the coffin struck by the Denver Nuggets a few days ago, the very team the Pelicans play Friday.

Like seeing an ex- two days after a breakup, we don’t want to see you right now! Then again, it was us, not you, Denver. You’re beautiful and we love you and think you’re the best... now I’m babbling... ah, the heartache!

New Orleans has four games left, including this Denver game, followed by three more road games at Golden State, the Lakers and Portland. Denver and Portland are the last two teams standing fighting over the 8th seed—neither seems likely to win the series against the Warriors—and so, the Nuggets will come out swinging. Portland is one game up on Denver right now.

Denver just lost to the West’s 3rd seeded Houston Rockets and now have New Orleans, Dallas and two Oklahoma City games coming to finish the year. Again, expect Denver to come out with extra desperation.

The details: Friday, April 7, Pelicans at Denver Nuggets, 8 p.m. CT; Fox Sports New Orleans on TV, 99.5 FM on radio.

Denver’s O Face

As I wrote just a few weeks ago, this Denver offense is for real.

Since mid-January, they still have the league’s best offense, second-best offensive rebounding rate, and the second-worst defensive rating. Nikola “Big Honey” Jokic is a dominant offensive hub, posting high assist numbers, shooting percentages, usage and rebounding numbers. He is paired with Danilo Gallinari, who is having a great year under-the-radar, helping to supercharge the Nuggets offense with shooting and playmaking. Kenneth Faried has found a role in a world where his style (undersized power forward with limited offensive game) isn’t wanted anymore; Jamal Murray can shoot and make plays already. The question in legitimate playing time revolves around Emmanuel Mudiay, whose time and production has been inconsistent.

The Denver Post recently highlighted Mudiay’s “precipitous drop from second-year starter to a third-string point guard who has gobbled up ‘Did Not Play’ distinctions in box scores since the all-star break.” Now, the paper is asking whether or not to totally give up on him.

Pels Playing Time?

The Pelicans might glue guys to the bench for different reasons from the Nuggs: now that the season is lost, what’s the point? Why are we here, ya know?

Pels rookie big man Cheick Diallo and shooter Quinn Cook are expected to get more time, while DeMarcus Cousins may sit with achilles soreness, which is too bad since he’s been so outstanding scoring and rebounding for more than a month.

So, let’s remember the good times and remain hopeful for next year! There’s more fish in the sea!

There’s plenty of time to focus on the offseason, but get started now by continuing to read TheBirdWrites! Geaux us!