Stop Trying to Make the New Orleans Pelicans Happen, TNT and ESPN

The New Orleans Pelicans, since drafting Zion Williamson in 2019, have gone 62-90, finishing 13th in the Western Conference in 2020 and 11th in 2021. So far in 2021-22, they’re 1-7, dead last in the entire league. But every year, TNT and ESPN insist on cramming the Pelicans down our throats, giving them national media exposure and trying to make Zion into the next LeBron James. It made a measure of sense in Zion’s rookie year. Williamson came into the league with a Hall of Fame ceiling. Everyone loves watching a hotshot rookie, even on a bad team. But Zion …

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The New Orleans Pelicans’ Best Season: 2008

At the outset of this series, I set the ground rule that a team that had moved to a new media market couldn’t have a legacy that belonged to its old home carry over to the new one. This was the justification for the Atlanta Hawks not having their championship in St. Louis count in Atlanta. The New Orleans Pelicans, meanwhile, are another story. After all, I said nothing about a team changing its name while in the same city, as happened to the New Orleans Hornets when they changed their name to the Pelicans so the city of Charlotte, …

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Anatomy of a Fleecing: How NBA Teams Make Bad Trades

As this goes to press, Twitter is exploding with news that the Milwaukee Bucks traded Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and (get ready, folks) three first-round picks and two future pick swaps to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday. The Bucks are in blatant win-now mode trying to put a Big Three together (and saying in no uncertain terms that Bledsoe is not a Big Three third guy) alongside two-time reigning MVP and 2020 Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo and two-time All-Star Khris Middleton. But in the process, they’ve pretty much told their fans “if Giannis leaves in …

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Chris Paul: Greatest Point Guard Ever?

Way back when I was writing my “Which Advanced Stats Make the Best GOAT Lists?” article in April of 2019, most of the results produced some version of the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan argument, as any good GOAT discussion ought to. The weird thing, though, was that while combing through the data, one name kept coming up as one of the top ten if not top-five guys of all time, and it wasn’t who you’d expect. Chris Paul is fourth all-time in Win Shares per 48 minutes, fifth in Box Plus-Minus, 10th in Value Over Replacement Player, and fifth …

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No, Nancy Lieberman, Lonzo Ball Is Not 2020 Most Improved Player

The talking-head media world is full of plenty of hot takes, terrible takes, and terrible hot takes, but this take from Nancy Lieberman of Fox Sports might be the hottest and most “thass turrable” (thank you Charles Barkley) of them all. "If Lonzo Ball is not up for Most Improved Player in the NBA this year then, apparently, nobody has cable."@NancyLieberman drops knowledge on Lonzo's improvement this season.#WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/ChSiAFHGco — FOXSports NewOrleans (@FOXSportsNOLA) February 22, 2020 To be Most Improved Player, one must show improvement. This much ought to be obvious. Giannis Antetokounmpo won MIP when he made his leap …

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Lonzo Ball: Is He Any Good?

The mere inability to shoot the basketball does not necessarily disqualify a player from becoming an all-time great. After all, Jason Kidd couldn’t shoot for beans (40.0 FG% for his career, and his five years in Phoenix were the only stretch with one team where he shot above that mark) and he’s in the Hall of Fame. Further away from the basket, Russell Westbrook is arguably the worst 3-point shooter of all-time. His 30.4 percent mark is second behind only Charles Barkley‘s 26.6 for players with at least 2,000 attempts, but Russ has attempted 3,150 through games of January 9, …

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Achtung Panzer! #5: The Tanking New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans were supposed to revive their franchise post-Anthony Davis with a collection of castoffs from the Los Angeles Lakers plus the extraordinary luck of winning the Zion Williamson Sweepstakes last offseason. Instead, Williamson has started the season injured, those Lakers have been exactly the kind of players who couldn’t make the playoffs with LeBron James on their team, and the Pellies stand a woeful 6-20, tied with the Knicks and Hawks for the second-worst record in all of basketball ahead of only the what-on-Earth-happened Golden State Warriors at 5-22. And for all the talk of Brandon Ingram …

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Are the 2019-20 New Orleans Pelicans Good?

The New Orleans Pelicans are one giant full-of-promise question mark away from being a G-League team full of castoffs and discards who weren’t good enough for a 35-win Lakers team. But when the question mark is Zion Williamson, whose ceiling is LeBron James and whose floor is Aaron Gordon (big, athletic guy who doesn’t translate dunk contest excellence into superstar performance in actual games), everyone wants to anoint New Orleans as the next Golden State Warriors. Vegas seems to be splitting the difference, pegging the Pellies for 39 wins, 10th in the Western Conference, expecting them to miss the playoffs …

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NBA Best And Worst Contracts Part V: Southwest Division

Welcome to Part 5 of our 6-part series taking a look at every contract in the NBA—except for rookies and two-way contracts, plus anyone who didn’t play in the league last season due to injury or having been overseas or something—and quantifying the ratio of minute-weighted dollars paid to Win Shares produced. To remind folks who haven’t read previous entries in this series: As a quick reminder, a rookie, veteran minimum, or midlevel exception contract should produce a Wiggins Factor below 100, a rotation player with a rotation salary should be under 200, and ideally you want your superstar-level contracts …

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Dell Demps, Sam Hinkie, and the Meaning of NBA Genius

  Dell Demps just managed to do completely by accidental bumbling what Sam Hinkie did by deliberate, willful arrogance, and in the Process managed to prove once and for all that the gods have one heck of a sense of humor. After all, what difference is it truly between New Orleans being a garbage fire for years under an incompetent GM, lucking into a couple of top draft picks, and rebuilding the franchise into a contender under a smarter GM, and Philadelphia being a garbage fire for years under an incompetent GM, whiffing on a bunch of draft picks and …

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