The New Orleans Pelicans may have lost the face of the franchise, Anthony Davis, last summer, but they managed to gather a group of young and promising talents that are expected to give them a bright future. Aside from the three players — Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart — that they got in the blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pelicans also acquired a generational, Zion Williamson, in the 2019 NBA Draft. Though they were out of the playoff race when the league suspended the season due to the spread of coronavirus, most people believe that the Pelicans will soon make a huge noise in the Western Conference.
In a recent article, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report created a list of young NBA cores that are built to win titles and those that are likely to fall apart. Like the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Phoenix Suns, Buckley strongly believes that the Pelicans’ young core is capable of contending for the championship title in the near future. If Pelicans veterans like Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick continue to improve their chemistry with the likes of Williamson, Ball, Ingram, and Hart, Buckley predicted New Orleans could join the “championship race” as early as next season.
“The Pels posted the seventh-best net rating since Williamson’s debut, and they’ve sprouted young talent all around him. Brandon Ingram made his All-Star leap. Lonzo Ball found a lethal long-range shot to pair with his preternatural passing and disruptive defense. Josh Hart hustled his way to career marks in several categories. Jaxson Hayes scraped the ceiling more than once. New Orleans has the veteran support to enter the championship race as soon as next season. If it keeps this group together, it will have the stabilizing two-way presence of Jrue Holiday and the always-on-target marksmanship of JJ Redick.”
Though it’s still hard to see them beating Western Conference powerhouse teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers in a best-of-seven series, the Pelicans won’t lose anything if they really try to bring the Larry O’Brien Trophy home to New Orleans next season. As Buckley noted, if the Pelicans fail, they could simply undergo a full-scale rebuild and just focus on the development of Williamson, Ingram, Ball, and Hart.
Once they see they are ready to contend for a championship title again, the Pelicans may consider targeting a legitimate superstar that could complement their young core via trade or free agency.