The New Orleans Pelicans are sitting at a 25-29 record well past the midway mark of the season.
They are 11th in the Western Conference, one spot out of playoff contention. After last season's firing of Head Coach Alvin Gentry and hiring of Stan Van Gundy, most analysts and fans alike assumed that the Pelicans would turn a new leaf heading into the 2021 season. Unfortunately, the young and so-called talented Pelicans squad seems to be even worse this year than the prior season.
Year after year the Pelicans organization and fan base have criticized the coaching for being the reason for consistently mediocre campaigns. The time has come to hold the players accountable for the lack of competitiveness week-in and week-out.
As a Pelicans fan, it has become difficult to watch the team play due to the fact that their ability to finish out a ball game is non-existent. It seems when the fourth quarter starts, all players with New Orleans on their jersey decide it is time to quit. Turnovers, missed shots, forced shots and low IQ play all contribute to the monstrosity that is fourth quarter Pelican basketball.
Despite the team's losing ways, there has been some improvement individually among players to be happy about. Lonzo Ball has found a consistent three point shot, Zion Williamson has unlocked the ability to take over a ball game and Brandon Ingram continues to leave opposing coaches speechless with his ability to score points. The question remains: If this team is so talented, what separates them from a team like the Utah Jazz who arguably have less talent on their squad?
The simple answer is a desire to win. It seems New Orleans has become nothing more than a quick stop during a player's NBA career before they find their true home. The Pelicans sign role players who know their spot on the team is not permanent. For example, Eric Bledsoe admitted that before the trade deadline he was prepared to leave New Orleans, and that was evident on the court. Bledsoe would toss up contested threes, play mediocre defense and cause countless offensive turnovers.
The key to success for the Pelicans is to have players buy into the system willingly. Until NBA players no longer view New Orleans as a vacation spot until they are saved by another organization, the losing ways in the Big Easy will continue to ruin Pelican basketball.