New Orleans Pelicans 2021 Season Preview
(Ashley Landis/AP Photo)

New Orleans Pelicans 2021 Season Preview

The New Orleans Pelicans had a lot of hope last season with the addition of Zion Williamson. However, they fell short in the NBA bubble. If the Pelicans want to make a push to the playoffs this year, they will need more regular-season consistency. Here is the New Orleans Pelicans 2021 Season Preview.

Key Additions: Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe, Kira Lewis Jr.

The Pelicans had solid guard play in 2019 but struggled in the paint with an injured Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors. The addition of the very physical Steven Adams will help Zion in the paint and allow the Pelicans to get much-needed offensive rebounds.

The additions of Eric Bledsoe and Kira Lewis should compound on the Pelicans’ already solid guard rotation. Bledsoe should add to the defensive end and Lewis should be able to step in if Lonzo Ball struggles offensively.

Key Losses: Jrue Holiday, Derrick Favors, E’Twaun Moore

Both Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors were starters last year, so replacing them will be hard. Both Holiday and Favors brought veteran experience and a defensive mindset to the court that will definitely be missed this season.

E’Twaun Moore on the other hand was a solid bench player and a rotational man who could play when his number was called. With less depth on the bench this year the Pelicans will have to rely more on the talent of their starters.

Projected Starting Rotation: Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson, Steven Adams

Only three of the five starters from last year remain on the roster, so chemistry may be an issue early in the season for the Pelicans. However, both Bledsoe and Adams are savvy veterans and should be able to adapt quickly to the young roster.

Despite the core of this team being very young, they are all still very talented. Ball, Ingram, and Williamson have developed good offensive chemistry over the last year and should play well as long as they stay healthy.

On the defensive side of the court, Adams and Bledsoe should be able to mold their younger teammates into a much more adept defensive squad.

Season Outlook:

The Pelicans have a new head coach with new key pieces in the starting five. If Zion Williamson can stay healthy, and Lonzo Ball can remain consistent the Pelicans should be a high-flying offense. However, if they don’t step up defensively, they may have a break down much like last season. They will be close either way. However, it is their defense, not their offense that will decide whether or not they make the playoffs in 2021.