Wait ‘till next year arrives for the Pelicans
There will be no playoffs for the New Orleans Pelicans this season and that is a good thing.
It is not a good thing on balance, based on trying to take a step forward as a franchise trying to establish an identity and get something going, building confidence and momentum.
It is a good thing because had New Orleans reached the play-in level, the Pelicans were not going anywhere, anyway, with its roster and massive number of injuries.
Is a good thing because no team with a 31-39 record, with a good chance to finish 31-41, should be in anything called playoffs at the highest level of competition.
As a result, it’s back to the lottery and the drawing board after Wednesday night’s 125-107 loss at Dallas.
The Mavericks are a bad matchup for the Pelicans, particularly in Dallas.
A night after getting crushed 133-104 by Memphis, New Orleans was hammered again by the Dallas Mavericks.
New Orleans gave up 77 points on 58 percent shooting from the field in the first half. New Orleans gave up an astonishing 45 points in the second quarter. Dallas had 111 points after three quarters.
First, there is the business of playing out the string in two more games, one at Golden State and the last at home against the Lakers.
Here is a friendly suggestion to Stan Van Gundy.
Let Eric Bledsoe retire for the final two games and let your bench players take the minutes.
Why not take a look a longer look at Didi Louzada to see if you might have anything for the future? We got our first glimpse of Louzada at Dallas. He is an aggressive, willing defender, who did a good job guarding Luka Doncic in the fourth quarter. Of course, his shot did not look particularly good.
Give Kira Lewis Jr. more minutes in place of Bledsoe.
Let Nickeil Alexander-Walker play 35 minutes.
Continue to give Wenyen Gabriel more minutes.
Continue to start Naji Marshall and James Johnson if Marshall is okay after hurting his right shoulder on a collision early in the fourth quarter.
Let Jaxson Hayes play heavy minutes and continue to fly high.
Keep letting Billy Hernangomez play his minutes.
Take a look at James Nunnally.
With all due respect to Bledsoe, he is not the player you hope he would be and should not be part of the future for this franchise.
This was a mere shadow of who the Pelicans are that took the floor in Dallas, missing four of five starters.
While the postseason analysis will follow soon, it is clear that David Griffin has to not just tweak but to change his roster.
Yes, this team missed Josh Hart, a tremendous energy player who defends and slashes to the hole with regularity.
Of course, there was no Lonzo Ball in Dallas but that is not a new development. Ball, a talented player, misses too many games, which has been the case in his young career.
Naturally, there was the lack of the ominous presence of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.
Then, there was no Steven Adams.
Hayes left late in the third quarter with an ankle injury but he returned midway through the fourth quarter.
Even with all hands on deck, this team needs to improve defensively.
Even with all hands on deck, this team needs to improve its perimeter shooting dramatically.
It is a team that has to reduce turnovers.
Perhaps some of those changes will come with another year of maturity, particularly with young players.
Most notably, it can and likely must change with a change in some players.
The change does not have to be massive or wholesale. It simply needs to be smart, productive, adding a key piece or two.
First, there is the matter of playing out the string.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…