The New Orleans Pelicans are off to a 4-0 start in the preseason and are living up to all of the expectations we had for the team heading into the year.
The New Orleans Pelicans have been so fun to watch over their first four preseason games. New Orleans is a perfect 4-0 in the preseason with the last three wins being come-from-behind victories after being down a substantial margin.
Granted, the one thing we told our readers before the preseason even began was that win or lose, not to take the preseason too seriously. These games do not matter and it is not a complete indication of what is to come in the regular season.
However, what we can look at is the individual performance of the players that are going to have a role in the rotation this year. After gauging their performances, we can conclude how good we think the Pelicans are going to be this season.
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Spoiler alert: pretty good. Being a playoff team is no longer a pipe dream for this team, it is a reality.
Almost all of the players that are impact players have checked all of the boxes for the Pelicans thus far. Lonzo Ball has been better than advertised and has paced the offense and facilitated the basketball as beautifully as any New Orleans point guard has since Chris Paul (he still has a long way to go before being Paul).
Not only is he thriving at his strengths but he is showing a big improvement in his weaknesses as well. Ball’s new-look jump shot has led to much better results at the three-point line.
Alongside him is Jrue Holiday, who has not done much this preseason, as the team wants to see more out of the younger players, but was fantastic in the first preseason game and has shown flashes of what he can do.
There were questions around how that backcourt dynamic was going to work and it has worked thus far.
Zion Williamson has been sensational. He has been the best player on the court for both teams in every single game he has played in and really proved himself when he had a tough matchup against Rudy Gobert and the Utah Jazz.
Zion is sixth in the entire league in preseason points per game and is fourth in field-goal percentage, making a whopping 71.4 percent of his shot.
We all knew that Zion was never going to be a bust. He has proven that with a strong preseason.
Brandon Ingram has not had that dominant takeover game that we would like to see yet this preseason but even he has shown flashes of his scoring prowess. He can get to the cup, pop off-ball threes and has a beautiful fadeaway jumper that is near-impossible to defend with his length.
He has rebounded and passed the ball proficiently as well. He might not score as much as we anticipated, but he probably does not have to.
Off the bench, Nickeil Alexander-Walker has been very impressive thus far. Out of anyone on the roster he has stood out the most based on the expectations around him prior to the season.
He is still showing some rookie signs, but the playmaking ability he has shown to be a bench guard has been stellar.
However, we still know that Favors is an anchor in the pick and roll game and the Pelicans have not really been going to him all that often as they already know what they are getting out of him.
Redick has been cold but he has not been taking nearly as many shots as he would off the bench in the regular season. His role on this team is not that complex and we know he can shoot. I would not be overly worried about his performance.
And if we look at the entire picture we see a team that moves the basketball, has three lethal scoring options in the starting lineup and a bench that is deep and more athletic than most NBA benches.
The only thing that can hold the New Orleans Pelicans back is their youth. But the more they win games, even in the preseason, the more confidence and experience they are getting.