Record: 34 – 48 (10th in the West)
Season Ended: No Playoffs
Frank Jackson (PG/SG)
Tony Allen (SG), Ian Clark (PG/SG) and Rajon Rondo (PG)
Tim Frazier (PG)
Projected Starters (Last year averages)
PG: Rajon Rondo (8 pts, 5 reb, 7 ast)
SG: Jrue Holiday (15 pts, 4 reb, 7 ast)
SF: Dante Cunningham (7 pts, 4 reb)
PF: Anthony Davis (28 pts, 12 reb, 2 blk)
C: Demarcus Cousins (24 pts, 12 reb, 1 blk)
Ian Clark (PG/SG), Jordan Crawford (SG), Tony Allen (SG/SF), Solomon Hill (SF/PF)
Major Story lines
Cousins staying or leaving? – Demarcus Cousins will be a free agent in the upcoming offseason and the entire league is going to be watching him closely. His reputation as a malcontent and a locker room/coach’s headache has to be erased or at least cooled down with this year. There’s almost no doubt that he receives max offers, the question is who his suitors will be.
Rondo Resurgence? – For the past few days there has been a lot of chatter about Rondo’s relationship with Cousins and his leadership ability. As a Mavs fan it’s hard to take this seriously and I have to give major props to his PR team for pushing this narrative. With that said he finished on a high note in Chicago getting the 8 seeded Bulls out to a 2-0 lead on the 1st seeded Celtics before he went down with an injury and he also has something to prove.
Mike Predictions (43 – 39) (8th in the West)
- Pelicans barely make the Playoffs – Looking at this roster, outside of Cousins and Davis there isn’t a ton of scoring. I worry about what happens when Davis goes down with an injury or Cousins is suspended. These factors will keep them on the bubble and will lead to my next prediction.
- Cousins traded at the Deadline – As the Pels struggle the front office notices Cousins’ attitude changing and realize he’s not going to be staying. Rather than wait to get nothing back for him they take the best offer they can find and unload the big man to a desperate team who thinks Cousin changes their station in the immediate future and that they can convince him to stay as well. (Knicks???)
Josh Predictions (35-48) (12th in the West )
- Pelicans greatly underperform – Even with two of the best players in the league, I don’t think New Orleans has the talent to compete with most of the other teams in the West. Their lack of scoring outside of the big 2 will cause them to fall behind in a lot of games. Cousins and Davis will play great, but it won’t be enough to sniff the playoffs.
- New Orleans tries to build a big 3 – To compete with the other “super teams” in the West (and East) I think the Pelicans will try to put together a package of Holiday, their 2018 1st round pick, and some other pieces to try to bring in another star, perhaps someone like Mike Conley. New Orleans doesn’t have time to wait on draft picks to pan out and they’re a little too good to get one of the top guys anyways. I think they try to go all-in this season and make a big trade.