The New Orleans Pelicans moved to 0-3 on the young NBA season on Saturday as the team fell victim to the Houston Rockets.
The New Orleans Pelicans went a perfect 5-0 in the preseason this year but have not been able to translate that success into the regular season. The Pelicans are still without a win after three games of the young NBA season.
The Pelicans narrowly fell 126-123 to the Houston Rockets on Saturday. And with all things considered, this actually was not that bad of a result for the Pelicans. New Orleans were huge underdogs on the road against the Rockets and to come one Josh Hart three-pointer from going into overtime is not that bad.
That is kind of how the regular season has felt so far. The Pelicans took the defending champion Toronto Raptors to overtime before being outscored by eight and were in the game the entire way against the Dallas Mavericks.
We could tweak a few small things about each game thus far and the Pelicans would be 3-0, so don’t hang your head too low about the 3-0 start.
Like the first two games, we learned some things about the New Orleans Pelicans in this third game, which is great, as now is the time to learn about what is to come for the rest of the year.
Here are our three biggest takeaways from the Pelicans’ third loss of the season.
1. Brandon Ingram has the “it” factor
Brandon Ingram was perhaps the most important non-draft piece in the Anthony Davis trade. Ingram was the furthest along in his develop among any of the Lakers and had serious star potential that was yet to be realized.
Ingram showed it in flashes in Los Angeles but most still were not sure if he could live up to the expectations.
Ingram looked all the parts of being an all-star with 35 points on 14-22 shooting with 15 rebounds and five assists.
Ingram is averaging 23.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists per game through three games. This was his coming-out party.
2. Josh Hart is even better than we could have hoped for
Just like Ingram, Josh Hart had shown some great flashes with the Los Angeles Lakers in his first two years in the league. However, unlike Ingram, Hart did not have nearly as high of expectations in his arrival to New Orleans.
Hart did not even play that great in the preseason and all of the guard buzz was around Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Hart felt left out and it is safe to say that a lot of people are surprised about his hot start to the year.
Hart is proving that he was indeed held back on the Lakers and has been great in a larger role in New Orleans. Hart dropped 23 points on Saturday to bring his scoring average up to 15.5 points per game alongside 9.5 rebounds.
He is a good defender, is a great bench scorer and has elite rebounding ability for his position. Watch out for Josh Hart.
3. This team needs Zion Williamson
It might not feel this way as the Pelicans have been close in all three games. Or, it might absolutely feel this way as the Pelicans have lost all three games.
The New Orleans Pelicans do not need Zion Williamson to be a good team, as they can still be slightly above-average team in the NBA. However, to take that leap to be a great team, they absolutely need Zion Williamson.
Losing all of these games in a close manner is the perfect example of this. If New Orleans would have had the star impact and presence of Zion in these games then they definitely could have swung the other way.
That extra tenacity and explosiveness that Zion brings to the table have been lacking through three games. Derrick Favors has underwhelmed and while the New Orleans Pelicans have been fun to watch, they have not been as fun as they were with Zion on the court.