It’s hard to tell if the Pelicans’ glass is half full or half empty

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onasJ Valanciunas, JT Thor
Mar 23, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) drives to the basket against Charlotte Hornets forward JT Thor (21) during the second half at Smoothie King Center (Photo: Stephen Lew).

NEW ORLEANS – Welcome to the latest edition of Pierre’s Pelicans Podcast, featuring Pollyanna Pelican and Pessimist Pelican.

The state of the Pelicans usually can be seen from a glass-is-half-full perspective or from a glass-is-half-empty perspective.

And that’s especially true right now.

As you know, Pollyanna always sees the glass as half full and Pessimist always sees it as half empty.

And lately the Pelicans have given both of them plenty of material to work with.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation this morning that might help you judge for yourself:

Pierre: “We got another Zion Williamson update this week. He has been cleared to begin on-court basketball activities and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. I’ll start with you, Pollyanna, since you’re wearing your Zion jersey.”

Pollyanna: “Great news. He’s on the verge of returning. If they clear him to play after the re-evaluation he’ll have three regular-season games to get his timing down before the play-in – unless they avoid the play-in and go straight into the playoffs. That would be even better because he’d have more time to rehab before the post-season.”

Pierre: “Pessimist, I see you’re wearing a “That’s All Folks!” t-shirt. I assume that means you’re less optimistic about Zion’s return.”

Pessimist: “He’s done. We get these ‘re-evaluations” every couple of weeks and nothing really changes. He’s still out. In two weeks they’ll say he’s making progress, but isn’t ready to play and four days later the season will be over. See you in the fall.

“And if he could come back, what’s the point? They’ll probably already be eliminated from the playoffs. Even if they aren’t, the season will end before he ever gets into playing shape.”

Pierre: “Let’s turn to how the team is playing without Zion. They have a three-game winning streak. Each win has come by a double-digit margin and the cumulative margin is 64 points. Is this team peaking at the right time, Pessimist?”

Pessimist: “Are you kidding me? They peaked before Christmas. Nice winning streak. Beat the horrible Rockets only after blowing a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose to the same horrible team two days earlier. The Spurs didn’t have their top two scorers or their No. 1 rebounder. They brought a G-League team here. The Hornets? They came in here as a bad NBA team and they left as another G-League team after losing three guys during the game. Reality awaits.”

Pollyanna: “All the games count the same. Doesn’t matter who the opponent is, who is or isn’t playing. Winning is a habit. You win three in a row you start expecting to win. You win by big margins and your confidence soars. They’re on a roll at the right time. This looks a like a turning point to me.”

Pierre: “Now comes a big and very challenging road trip – Clippers, Blazers, Warriors and Nuggets. What do you expect, Pollyanna?”

Pollyanna: “We’re looking at a split at worst. Paul George is out so we start with a win against the Clippers. Then we take care of the Blazers, who are fading. The Warriors and Nuggets will be tough, but if we split those we come back 3-1. I’m excited.”

Pessimist: “They’ll be lucky if they don’t get swept. Yeah, George is out so the game in L.A. might not be a blowout, but their only hope is in Portland.”

Pierre: “There are still five games left after this road trip. The standings are incredibly tight, a lot of head-to-head games between teams next to one another and a lot of tie-breakers to be decided. What do you think, Pessimist?”

Pessimist: “First off, they’ve already lost the tie-breakers to the Jazz and the Lakers. When they come home from that disastrous road trip they play the Clippers, the Kings, the Grizzlies and the Knicks, all of whom have better records than them. I don’t see how they finish higher than 12th.”

Pollyanna: “The fact is they’re tied for eighth and they’re 2½ games out of fourth. Fourth! The No. 4 seed has home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. I’m not saying they’re going to get that high but there is a great opportunity to move up a lot. They already have the tie-breaker against the Thunder. If they win one of two games against the Clippers they have that tie-breaker. If they beat the Warriors they have that tie-breaker. If they beat Minnesota in the finale they have that tie-breaker. Yeah, there’s a lot of work to be done, but a tremendous opportunity to move up remains.”

Pessimist: “Yeah, well you keep dreaming about those opportunities. I’m going to read up on the opportunities in the Draft Lottery.”

Pollyanna: “Isn’t that what you said last year?”

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Les East

CCS/106.1 FM/Daily Iberian

Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. The New Orleans area native’s blog on was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists. He has since become a valued contributor for CCS. The Jesuit High…

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