Pelicans need defense to stop bowing down
For a team that plays little or no defense, it is an interesting selection for a team slogan for the 2019-2020 season.
“Won’t Bow Down” is the cry but the desire to portray a club as tough rings hollow when you are allowing 128.3 points per game and are off to an 0-4 start.
The New Orlemas Pelicans are tough to watch, especially on the defensive end. The other team seems to always shoot layups or, at the very least, wide open looks.
In the meantime, on the other end of the floor, New Orleans seemingly has to work for every basket.
It isn’t a good gumbo for success.
This past Monday night against a Golden State team that is a shell of its championship self, the Pelicans allowed 134 points.
Talk about a bad look.
Going into the season, the Pelicans figured to have many attributes, including depth and youth. Rebounding and rim protection appeared to be issues. And they are.
Yet, the defense was supposed to be better. Long and athletic players, according to Pelicans brass, would generate the type of defensive effort that would make Pelicans fans proud.
With guard Jrue Holiday sidelined for the moment and the draft’s first pick Zion Williamson shelved for weeks with a knee injury, someone has to step up. That player has been Brandon Ingram.
Through four games, he’s averaging 27.3 points per game, 9.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists while shooting 50 percent from beyond the three point line.
Everyone around Ingram so far has been ‘clang city’ though.
Holiday, before he left the line-up was shooting 30.8 percent from the field. Typically sharp-shooting JJ Redick is 31.6 percent from the field. Lonzo Ball is shooting 39.1 percent from the field.
Pelicans are counting on Holiday, Redick and Ball to produce big time.
At some point, the numbers figure to improve. Redick, for his career, shoots 44.7 from the field and a sizzling 41.2 from beyond the arc. The other two guards can do better.
While the offense works its way to the production level needed, the Pelicans need to discover defense. Getting stops is critical. Getting stops often leads to easy transition baskets, which New Orleans sorely needs.
If defense is part of the new Pelicans culture, it is time to prove it now.
Without two of your best players including one for an extended period of time, defense will keep you afloat.
Won’t Bow Down is a catchy phrase.
I like it.
Stops during games are better.
- < PREV MEET THE PRESS: Fritz Previews Tulsa at Weekly News Conference
- NEXT > Volleyball: Cabrini, Country Day tune up for big match with wins Tuesday
WGNO Sports Director/106.1 FM
Ed is a New Orleans native, born at Baptist Hospital. He graduated Rummel High School, class of 1975, and subsequently graduated from Loyola University. Ed started in TV in 1977 as first sports intern at WVUE Channel 8. He became Sports Director at KPLC TV Channel 7 in Lake Charles in 1980. In 1982 he was hired as sports reporter…