Connect with us

NBA

NBA Daily: Time For The Pelicans To Turn The Corner

The New Orleans Pelicans should be a lot better than their record, is it just the turnovers or is there something bigger at play?

Steve Kyler

Published

on

Time To Turn The Corner

As the New Orleans Pelicans return to the bayou for any extending homestand, their 17-16 record continues to reflect a team with a lot more problems than promise. Despite having arguably, the best two big men in the NBA in DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. The Pelicans roster is filled with impact players and savvy veterans, yet they continue to be middling in a conference where they need to begin to separate themselves from the bottom of the playoff standings.

No one in New Orleans is ready to panic, but the issues that haunt them are all too real.

“Oh, we’re fine. We’re fine, we’re fine,” Davis told Basketball Insiders. “We just got to be able to control the basketball during the games. Go down the stretch, the last four, five, six minutes, and we turn the ball over. Other than that, we’re fine.”

Its hard to view late-game turnovers as an easy thing to fix (or inconsequential), but it’s a constant message from all over the roster.

“We build leads, show we can play with the best teams in the league,” Davis said confidently. “All the great teams are up 15, 20 throughout the game, and that last four, five minutes, we just turn the ball over. Other than that, we’re fine.”

When the Pelicans brought in Cousins last season at the trade deadline, they believed they could create an unstoppable frontline duo, and on many nights, that appears to be true, except for those pesky turnovers.

Cousins leads the league in turnovers at 5.1 turnovers per game. The next three players – James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Lebron James – are all the primary playmakers for their team, making Cousins’ miscues all the more glaring.

The Pelicans have won two straight going into the Christmas break, something they felt as a team would start to cure some of the struggles.

“Just got to string together some wins,” Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday explained. “I think there are times and games where we play really well.

“Just got to finish games. Obviously, there are times we have good spurts, and there are other times where it’ll kind of [go the] opposite way, so, just got to be able to a sustain that.

“I think sometimes our execution down the stretch and then being able to get stops. Especially last two minutes, to be able to get stops and get a score at the end is very key for us.”

Even though the Pelicans haven’t started to separate themselves from the middle of the pack in the West, there is still a belief they are not that far away.

“We’ve beat some elite teams,” Davis explained. “I think it’s more so that the team that’s not so elite. You know we lost, we gave one away against Sacramento. Teams like that, we have to come out and beat. We can’t play down to the level of our competition. If we want to be a great team, we’ve got to play the same way like we play against Golden State, Houston, or Cleveland, or San Antonio, one of those team you know. Just because whatever their names say on the front of their jersey of the opposing team, you know, we can’t determine if we’re going to play or not that night.

“We’ve all got to go out there and play. We’re all here for a reason because we do what we do best, in each position, so we can’t try to limit what we do. Of course, it’s about sacrifice, we’ve got to sacrifice sometimes, but we can’t go out there and be hesitant to play the game of basketball. Especially me, DeMarcus, and Jrue, we’ve got to go out there and just play. Whenever we draw attention, we’ve got to find other guys.”

There is no doubting that the Pelicans have the talent on the roster to be an elite level NBA team, their issues seem to have more to do with turnovers and inconsistency than lacking the talent needed to win.

Some around the team are waiting for a true leader to emerge, someone who can take over the team on the floor. Its obvious from the outside that should be Davis, but is he wired that way? Will the team dynamic with Cousins allow for that?

If you look around the NBA, the great teams have a bona fide leader. Who is that person for the Pelicans? Not who should it be, who is it?

It’s one thing to be the top scorer or the player a team goes to in the crunch, but when its time to get the team focused and on the same page, who does that for the Pelicans?

Maybe that’s part of the problem.

Leadership by committee is hard to make work.

The Pelicans should be a better team than they are, and maybe it is just the turnovers, and everything else is fine.

With the Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks on tap before the New Year, the Pelicans have a chance to string together what could be a five-game winning streak, which could see them jump up in the standings.

With more than a week at home, this might be the window in which the Pelicans can sperate themselves from the pack. If not, things in the Big Easy may start to get contentious.

The Pelicans will face a lot of noise with the February 9 NBA trade deadline looming. Cousins is headed towards free agency in July and the Pelicans will need to decide if the dynamic frontcourt duo really works or cash out. A good string of games could answer that question, and the next three are very winnable.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @MikeAScotto, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

Advertisement




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Legacy

Looking For A Few Great Voices!

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

Basketball Insiders

Published

on

From time to time we have open chairs at Basketball Insiders for writers looking to gain experience, grow their brand and to be part of an aggressive up-tempo content team.

We are considering adding new voices for the 2020-21 NBA Season, and what we are looking for is very specific.

Here are the criteria:
– A body of professional work that reflects an understanding of the NBA and basketball.
– Must live within 30 minutes of an NBA team.
– Must be willing to write two to three times per week on various topics as assigned.
– Must write in AP style and meet assigned deadlines.
– Be willing to appear in Podcasts and Video projects as needed and scheduled.
– Have a strong understanding of social media and its role in audience development.
– Be willing to work in a demanding virtual team environment.

Some things to know and consider:
– We are not hiring full-time people. If you are seeking a full-time gig, this is not that.
– This will be a low or non-compensation role initially. We need to understand your value and fit.
– We have a long track record of creating opportunities for those that excel in our program.
– This will be a lengthy interview and evaluation process. We take this very seriously, so should you.
– If you are not committed to being great, this is not the right situation for you.

If you are interested, please follow these specific instructions, Drop us an e-mail with:

Your Name:

The NBA Market You Live Near:

And Why We Should Consider You:

We do not need your resume, but a few links to work you have done under the above information would be helpful.

Please send all of this to: openings2021@basketballinsiders.com

 

Continue Reading

Headlines

#17 – Aleksej Pokusevski – Oklahoma City Thunder

David Yapkowitz

Published

on

With the 17th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select Aleksej Pokusevski from Serbia. The Thunder completed a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to acquire the pick.

Pokusevski is a long term project, but one that has has an intriguing skillset. A 7-footer with good speed and quickness, Pokusevski plays like a wing and can pass like a guard. But, to truly thrive at the next level, Pokusevski will need to put on some serious weight.

Again, he’s a project. But Pokusevski’s ceiling is sky-high. And, with a rebuild ahead of them, the Thunder have more than enough time to work with him and ensure he reaches it.

Continue Reading

Mock Drafts

2020 NBA Mock Draft – The Final 60-Pick Mock

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Steve Kyler

Published

on

What a long and winding road the 20201 NBA Draft has been. While this draft cycle has seen its ups and down, the moment of truth if finally upon us.

Here is a final look at the 2020 Draft, and how it may play out in this final 60-pick Mock Draft of the 20202 NBA Draft process:

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries

Advertisement

CloseUp360

Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now