How confident are you in the New Orleans Pelicans proposed plan to boost up the pace to all-time levels? Will the even faster style of play be more beneficial or detrimental to the team in the long run?
The Pelicans tried to go against the grain last season in the NBA with #DoItBig, but they enjoyed the greatest success after DeMarcus Cousins’ injury. Anthony Davis had a more central role on both ends of the floor and Nikola Mirotic proved to be a greater asset on the court. With Julius Randle now aboard too, Davis has another running mate who I believe can quicken the pace another notch without sacrificing the defense. Playing a little faster, having more spacing could help the Pelicans make the jump from borderline playoff team to talks of home court advantage.
I think the roster fits the style of envisioned play though I do worry that ‘go fast’ is sometimes the only plan. The types of players and the depth at the four and five makes the pace an advantage for the Pelicans, but is there anything else they can do well? What happens when you can’t create off of that chaos? I’m not saying there isn’t other stuff in the toolbox — just that the preseason didn’t show us any fall back options. There was a lot of trouble initiating anything if the initial surge didn’t get the Pelicans an open look.
I’m confident that it can work in Pelicans favor. This is a very resilient style in which they play. They don’t get the opportunity to dwell on previous plays as much because the goal is to immediately push the basketball.
Ultimately, success will rest on how the pace affects their defense, stamina, and the play of Elfrid Payton, and there’s enough good vibes to feel hopeful — Payton is best suited to run, the Pelicans can field some wonderfully versatile lineups and there are no longer any lumbering bodies around.
I’m very confident about the fast and furious Pelicans. A high paced offense that puts Anthony Davis at center during crunch time minutes, with athletes and shooters around him, is what basketball was always meant to be. Most importantly, Dell Demps has managed to surround Davis with teammates who are versatile. Every player in the projected starting and finishing lineups can rebound, pass, and handle the ball.
The Pelicans should be among fastest teams in the NBA this season.
Playing an abnormal style in the regular season can often be worth several wins over the course of a long campaign — Think about the Steve Nash Suns who always had an inflated regular season records by catching team unprepared for their trail blazing style of play.
The one area of concern: I do wonder if they have enough depth in the back court to sustain a high pace. Asking a guy like Jrue Holiday to guard the opponents best perimeter scorer and run back on offense will only work if he gets enough help from guys like Elfrid Payton, Frank Jackson, and Ian Clark.
Offensively, the Pelicans will have no equal in 2018-19.
We’ve seen just a glimpse of what Anthony Davis will do in the last preseason matchup against the Toronto Raptors. Jrue Holiday has become a more confident, aggressive scorer in this system. E’Twaun Moore and Darius Miller are more reliable from behind the stripe than any tandem not named Curry and Thompson.
But the Pelicans must match their offensive intensity on the defensive side of the floor, and as history suggests, they won’t do that until January. New Orleans will continue to top 110 points per game, and the numbers will look impressive to the outside eye. Everyone will get theirs, however, we can expect opponents to get easy transition buckets and points in the paint a plenty in the process. The key will be limiting those scores, keeping them fewer and further between than what the Pelicans muster!
I still have faith in Gentry’s system and believe it will get augmented as the season goes along. My primary worry is the team’s health, with so many miles required on a nightly basis and the propensity for the head coach to utilize a short bench. Also, I need to see Payton prove his chops consistently and effectively as the new lead guard, which I am still mostly positive about.
I believe that a team, one which is built to run, can go too fast. There exists a point where the law of diminishing returns will apply and competitive advantage will be lost. Opponents, who are also comprised of some of the best athletes and basketball players in the world, would be blessed with an overabundance of easy scoring opportunities, mismatches in their favor and worlds of momentum.
While the Pelicans can still win games playing at the fastest possible pace, I can’t help but think there would always remain too much inconsistency. New Orleans will be almost as likely to lose to a bottom-tier team as they would the Rockets or Jazz. Some nights they’ll look like championship contenders; on others, a team destined for the lottery.
If the Pelicans were wholly comprised of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday’s up and down the lineup, being out of position would not nearly be as detrimental. However, lets be realistic: taking advantage of a turnover or pushing the ball quickly even after a made basket is smart basketball, but continually asking the whole roster to make something out of nothing leads to ignoring common sense — and good basketball. While I undoubtedly believe the coaching staff understands this point, the fact that the concept of pace, pace, pace has been and will probably be consistently hammered, the optimal line at which speed the team should operate is likely to blur too often.
Rajon Rondo was fantastic at resetting the offense and finding the next weakness when the first attack failed to materialize. Can we entrust all of the team’s decision makers to improve upon that by going at a noticeably faster clip?
I think this question is related to defense more than offense — and it may hurt the D. We’ve got important guys who enjoy it, including AD and Jrue, but what does it mean for all the other guys on the roster? Offensively, it will help as speed always helps generate offense, sometimes making something out of nothing. But it can also lead to quick 12-2 spurts by opponents. If we can hold steady on that side of the ball, I’ll like it!