The New Orleans Pelicans have an unfortunate history of injuries. The potential of this team has been seen over a short period. This team dominates games at full strength and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Questions surrounding the return of CJ McCollum, Trey Murphy III, and Larry Nance Jr. have recently been added to the list. The short-handed Pelicans endured a five-game losing streak and a 1-1 In-Season tournament record last week.
New Orleans Pelicans Week 3 Analysis
Zion Williamson didn’t play last Wednesday against the surging Minnesota Timberwolves. It didn’t make a difference as the Timberwolves jumped on the Pelicans from the start. In the first In-Season tournament game for both the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans, it was the Rockets creating enough momentum to win.
The Pelicans turned the ball over 30 times over the first two losses to start the week. Their week concluded with a game against the Dallas Mavericks. Kyrie Irving completely took over. The Mavericks all-star scored 35 points on 7-for-10 shooting from deep. In last night’s game, the Pelicans got off to a hot start for week four, with Brandon Ingram and Jordan Hawkins each scoring 25.
In five wins this season, the Pelicans averaged 13.8 turnovers a game balanced against 18 turnovers in the six losses. Ingram leads the team with three turnovers per game. At the same time, Ingram is second on the team in assists. The assists-to-turnover ratio must improve consistently for the Pelicans. The return of Jose Alvarado should help improve this issue as his career assists to turnover ratio averages works as third best on the team.
Ingram Leading The Way
Despite winning one game last week, Brandon Ingram has been the leading scorer in 4 consecutive games. Ingram knows his sweet spot is the mid-range. He’s shooting 59% from inside the three-point line. However, he is shooting 21% from deep. The Pelicans are inconsistent with the long ball. Currently, the Pelicans are 19th in three-point field goal percentage.
Ingram leading this team in scoring could be advantageous for the long term. Being that Williamson can score at will inside the paint, he will get his numbers. Ingram playing at an all-star level can help provide a 1-2 punch for the Pelicans. Furthermore, Ingram being the main point of the offense allows opportunity for other teammates, such as Jordan Hawkins to be comfortable within the offense.
Tough Week Ahead
Games against Denver, Minnesota, and Sacramento are up next for the Pelicans. Although there was a loss to start the In-Season tournament, last night’s win over the Mavericks sets up an important game against Denver on Friday. The Nuggets are undefeated in group play so far while the Pelicans have the second-best point differential.
The Timberwolves have started the season red-hot and Anthony Edwards has been playing like an All-NBA player. Another key point is that Minnesota has been to the playoffs in consecutive years so this a game that will test the mentality of the Pelicans. Sacramento is getting healthier every game, slowly returning to last season’s form.
Last Word on the New Orleans Pelicans
Alvarado should return to the lineup soon. With that being said, the Pelicans must take care of the ball. Meanwhile, Williamson and Ingram have to take over games and play toward their superstar status. Jordan Hawkins is shooting the ball with confidence, and the rest of the team will have to follow suit in order to weather the storm for a brutal upcoming week.