What one thing will you remember most from the New Orleans Pelicans 2017-18 season? (It can be a particular game, a specific highlight, the individual production of a player, anything!)
Jason: National recognition
For me, I’ll never forget how ESPN was forced to report on the Pelicans throughout the year despite how much it probably pained them. Remember how 22 analysts all voted in favor of the Portland Trail Blazers in Round 1 of the 2018 Playoffs?
At the beginning of the season, the talk centered around whether Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins could coexist, and then when they started to mesh, whether they had enough help around them. Next came Boogie’s injury to which pundits assumed New Orleans season was all but over; however, New Orleans proved everyone wrong by going on a 10-game winning streak and shocking the Trail Blazers in a four-game postseason sweep.
At least this season’s progress should roll into next year and New Orleans remains newsworthy on a national level.
Kevin: January 26th victory over Houston Rockets
There have been so many memorable moments from this season that it’s hard to narrow them down. However, I think one moment does encapsulate much of the emotions we’ve experienced in our years of cheering on this team — the January 26th victory over the 17-0 CP3-Harden-Capela trio-led Houston Rockets. It was a victory that had you filled with extreme joy and excitement but shifted quickly to despair and anguish as DeMarcus Cousins clutched his leg signaling the end of his season in the final seconds of the game.
The familiar sense of hopelessness and what could have beens suddenly returned, and yet New Orleans was able to usher in another potent reconstruction on the fly by trading for Nikola Mirotic. This specific move resulted in a very successful postseason run, providing confidence even with some intriguing roster uncertainty for the offseason.
Preston: January 26th victory over Houston Rockets
Unfortunately, the most memorable moment has to relate to the jubiliation and devastation experienced on Friday, January 26th 2018.
By now, everyone has exhausted the arguments at length involving the success of the Pelicans following the loss of their biggest and, at times, best player. DeMarcus Cousins found his niche with the Pelicans in January, and while he will continue to endure endless levels of criticism — and rightfully so for some of his half-spirited play during the October-December stretch — there is no doubt as to the team’s highest ceiling this season. It came with Cousins taking but ten shot attempts on his way to a triple-double in a decisive victory over the then unbeatable triumvirate of Harden-CP3-Capela. While the final score indicates a close game, 115-113, much of that was made in garbage time at the free throw stripe. The Pelicans led throughout, and looked to be the better team that night before a national audience.
While the late season run against non playoff teams and 4-0 sweep over the Blazers makes for a feel good story, it’s impossible to forgo wondering just how good these Pelicans could have been had Boogie not chased that rebound.
David: January 26th victory over Houston Rockets
The Houston game when Boogie went down.
Because of what it represented.
People have somehow forgotten that was the first loss the Rockets had when healthy and it was the Pelicans, behind a monster performance from DeMarcus Cousins, who handed that Houston core their first loss. New Orleans was clicking on all cylinders and thinking about what was to come in that fourth quarter was what truly made the injury so hard. Just as the light of hope burned the absolute brightest, it was snuffed out almost immediately.
Oleh: Jrue Holiday’s famous finger point
The guys above are not wrong for selecting that ill-fated victory over Houston — the most pivotal part of the season, but since the Pelicans garnered so much success, I felt it necessary to focus on something more positive: how about the emergence of Jrue Holiday?!
New Orleans shooting guard put together the best season of his career, which culminated in the 2018 playoffs. Not only did Holiday average 23.7 points, 6.3 assists and 5.7 rebounds and shoot 51.8% from the field, his competitive fire reached a plateau never thought possible publicly.
The disrespect here Jrue Holiday POINTS AT NURKIC. STOP THIS GAME. pic.twitter.com/9Px4A0zluU— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) April 20, 2018
Holiday cemented himself as one of the best two-way players in the league during the regular season, but he elevated his game to another level in the playoffs, one bordering legitimate consideration of All-NBA Team status should it continue into the next campaign — and not just on the defensive side of the ball.
Travis: Great team resiliency
I’ll remember that this team, as opposed to previous seasons, got better as the season went along and wound up probably overachieving!
I, and surely many others, viewed this season with some worry: what would happen if they didn’t make the playoffs? Or, what if injuries stopped key players? Instead, the team got great contributions from stars and role players, the coach gave this team a real identity, and GM Dell Demps again made a key move. I thought the team had achieved its high point in a win against Houston, but Boogie got injured and many thought the season would be lost. But instead, the Pels became more focused and established a coherent and ultra fast-paced style that powered them to a memorable four-game sweep of Portland.
Not an A+ season, but darn near it.
What was the most memorable takeaway of 2017-18?
This poll is closed
Win over Rockets/Lose Boogie game
Emergence of Jrue Holiday
National media never getting it right
Resilient spirit throughout season