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New Orleans Pelicans Betting Outlook
Western Conference Odds: +2800
Preseason NBA Championship Odds: +5500
There is a lot of optimism around the New Orleans Pelicans entering the 2020-21 season. Zion Williamson will be in his second season, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball continue to improve, the team made some moves to get better in the offseason, and Stan Van Gundy has taken over as head coach.
There is plenty of talent, young and old, with veterans Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe joining the team in separate trades. Van Gundy has been successful in the NBA at two of his three coaching stops, and he’ll bring a new vision.The most exciting thing for the team is Williamson not being on a minutes restriction.
In a stacked Western Conference, it’s hard to predict how the Pelicans will do. There are a lot of parts that still need to be worked into a cohesive unit, so there may be some struggles at times, but the team will certainly be exciting and in the playoff mix down to the end.
New Orleans Pelicans 2021 Predictions
Regular-Season Record: 36-36
Conference Standing: Ninth
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Brandon Ingram emerged as a scoring star in his first season with New Orleans last year, averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists. He has been thought of as a player with a lot of potential since being picked No. 2 in the 2016 draft by the Lakers. He won’t be a fiery leader compared to his teammates, but he gives his all on the floor at all times and can score from almost anywhere on the court.
In his second season, Williamson will have the leadership mantle thrust upon him, simply because of the expectations of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft. Williamson is a highlight film waiting to happen with his ferocious dunks and emphatic blocked shots, and he’s already as strong as anyone in the league at age 20. How Williamson does in his second season will say a lot about how New Orleans does as a team as well.
New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans Pelicans Team History
The New Orleans Pelicans came into the NBA as an expansion team in 1988 as the Charlotte Hornets. The team enjoyed success behind players like Larry Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry, Glen Rice and Kendall Gill, making the playoffs four times in its first 11 seasons of existence.
Financial troubles convinced owner George Shinn to move the team prior to the 2002-03 season to New Orleans, taking the city’s name with the Hornets mascot. Prior to the first regular-season game played in New Orleans since that game’s opponent, the Jazz, moved to Utah in 1979, the Hornets took on a bit of the previous history, retiring New Orleans Jazz legend Pete Maravich’s number.
Behind players like Baron Davis and Jamaal Magloire, the Hornets made the playoffs in their first season in New Orleans, but after losing in the first round, they fired coach Paul Silas, replacing him with Tim Floyd. In 2003-04, the team started 17-7 under Floyd but struggled to a 41-41 record, losing again in the first round of the playoffs and costing Floyd his job.
Byron Scott was named the coach for the 2004-05 campaign, and the team was moved to the Western Conference to even the league up with the arrival of the Charlotte Bobcats in the East. But injuries struck the team hard, and it finished with 18 wins, earning a lottery pick that would change the franchise. With the No. 4 pick in the 2005 draft, New Orleans selected Chris Paul out of Wake Forest, and he became the immediate face of the franchise.
Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area in 2005, forcing the Hornets to move their operations to Oklahoma City, Ok., for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 campaigns. The team didn’t experience a lot of success on the floor while in Oklahoma, finishing outside of the playoffs both years, but the fan reaction was great, leading to the Seattle SuperSonics relocating to Oklahoma City a year after the Hornets moved back to New Orleans.
The team’s first season back in Louisiana was a successful one, with the Hornets finishing 56-26 and winning their first Southwest Division title, advancing to the conference semifinals before falling to San Antonio. The next year, New Orleans made the postseason again but lost in the first round, and when the 2009-10 season began with a 3-6 record, Scott was fired and replaced by general manager Jeff Bower.
Bower finished out the season, but the team finished last in the Southwest, so Bower resigned and the team hired Monty Williams as head coach. The team got back to the playoffs in Williams’ first season, losing in the first round to the Los Angeles Lakers, and during the season, the team was sold from Shinn to the NBA while the league tried to find a new team owner.
In the 2011 offseason, the team was shopping Paul and thought it had a deal to send him to the Lakers, but Commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade. Instead, in December 2011, the Hornets traded Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in exchange for three players and a first-round draft pick.
New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson bought the team in 2012 and indicated he’d like to find a mascot that better suited the Louisiana region. Since the Utah Jazz had no intention of giving up the Jazz moniker, the team eventually settled on the Pelicans, switching the team name prior to the 2013-14 campaign.
When the Hornets name became available, the Charlotte Bobcats petitioned to change their name to the Charlotte Hornets. When that was approved, the new Charlotte Hornets took all of the records and history of the previous Charlotte Hornets franchise as well.
The 2011-12 season ended so badly that New Orleans ended up with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, selecting Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.The big man was an immediate hit, named to the All-Rookie first team and finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting.
The Pelicans returned to the postseason in 2014-15 but were swept in the first round by the Golden State Warriors, leading to the firing of Williams and the hiring of Alvin Gentry as head coach. Spending another two years out of the playoffs, the Pelicans made some big moves to try to get back to the postseason.
At the trade deadline of the 2016-17 season, New Orleans traded for enigmatic big man DeMarcus Cousins from Sacramento. The move paid off the following season, as the Pelicans made the playoffs and advanced to the Western Conference semifinals before losing to the Warriors.
In the 2018 offseason, Cousins left the Pelicans for Golden State, and during the 2018-19 season, Davis demanded to be traded. He only played 56 games that year, and the team missed the postseason.
The Pelicans gave Davis his wish, trading him to the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2019 and getting Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram, as well as three first-round picks. The haul from the trade was joined by the No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 draft, Duke’s Zion Williamson, forming a brand-new nucleus for the team.
The much-anticipated debut of Williamson was delayed due to a knee injury he suffered in the preseason that required surgery. But Ingram came into his own quickly, leading the team in scoring and earning a berth on the All-Star team.
While Ingram was playing well individually, the team wasn’t playing well at all, sitting at 6-22 following a 13-game losing streak that stretched from November to mid-December. A 10-4 run around New Year’s helped get the team back to within 10 games of .500.
Williamson finally got back on the court in January, though with a minutes restriction. The Pelicans were still struggling to get back to .500 on the season, sitting at 28-36, when the NBA had to suspend the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Because New Orleans was within what was considered striking distance of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, it was invited to finish its season in the Orlando bubble. But things didn’t go well in the restart, as the Pelicans went just 2-6 and never seriously threatened for a postseason berth.
After the season, coach Alvin Gentry was let go, and the team brought in Stan Van Gundy to be the new head coach.
Van Gundy has been coaching since 1981 and been in the NBA in some capacity since the 1995-96 season. Van Gundy was an assistant at four colleges and head coach at three, most notably Wisconsin from 1992-1995, compiling a 135-92 record in eight seasons as a head coach at the collegiate level.
He moved to the NBA as an assistant with the Miami Heat under Pat Riley. Riley had been the coach with the New York Knicks and moved to Miami, but the Knicks refused to let his top assistant, Jeff Van Gundy, make the move with him. So Riley hired Van Gundy’s older brother, Stan, instead.
Van Gundy spent eight seasons as an assistant with the Heat before getting promoted to the head coaching job with the team for the 2003-04 season. In Van Gundy’s first season, he and a rookie named Dwyane Wade helped the Heat to a surprising run to the second round of the playoffs.
The next season, with Wade and the newly acquired Shaquille O’Neal, Van Gundy led Miami to the best record in the East and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, where it lost to the Detroit Pistons in seven games. Amid rumors that Riley wanted to get back to coaching now that the Heat were title contenders, Van Gundy resigned from his position 21 games into the 2005-06 season, citing the desire to spend more time with family.
But Van Gundy wasn’t gone long, taking over the Orlando Magic for the 2007-08 campaign. In his second season with the Magic, Van Gundy took the team to the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers. Orlando made the playoffs in all five of Van Gundy’s seasons as head coach, but Van Gundy was let go after the 2011-12 season, partially because of a rift between him and the Magic’s star center, Dwight Howard.
Van Gundy coached the Detroit Pistons for four seasons, beginning in 2014-15. But he made the playoffs just once in that stretch and was fired after the 2017-18 season. He had been working in television before being hired by the Pelicans this past offseason.
In 11-plus seasons as a head coach in the NBA, Van Gundy has a record of 523-384, as well as a playoff mark of 48-43.
Steven Adams, center, Oklahoma City Thunder
Eric Bledsoe, guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Willy Hernangomez, center, Charlotte Hornets
Stan Van Gundy, coach
Jrue Holiday, guard, Milwaukee Bucks
Derrick Favors, forward, Utah Jazz
Jahlil Okafor, center, Detroit Pistons
E’Twaun Moore, guard, Phoenix Suns
Frank Jackson, guard, Oklahoma City Thunder
Alvin Gentry, coach
Kira Lewis Jr., guard, Alabama
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