The first three losses for the New Orleans Pelicans were wrapped in promising effort, but last night’s 134-123 loss to the Golden State Warriors was more concerning.
The Pelicans are off to an 0-4 start to the 2019-2020 season, one of three teams that have not recorded a win so far this season (Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings).
The first three games were close for New Orleans. There was an overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on opening night, a tied game in the final 5 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks and a three-point loss to the Houston Rockets.
There were opportunities for the Pelicans to win each of those games, but we chalked it up to inexperience. This is a roster made up of new acquisitions, so it’s understandable that it’ll take time to get adjusted to each others’ games.
However, the lack of effort in the loss to the Warriors is tougher to get a grip on.
You can look at it like this. This was the Pelicans’ third game in four nights and they were coming off a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday in games they let slip by. There are also reasons that life will be brought back to the Pelicans. They get a rest before their next game, which is on Thursday against the Nuggets. Jrue Holiday has been out the last two games with a left knee sprain, Derrick Favors missed the Warriors game and Zion WIlliamson has been out.
Eventually you’ll get those players back and they’ll be able to patch up some issues, especially the Pelicans’ lack of size and rebounding.
If you want to look at some of the early issues, they can still be present even when the Pelicans are fully healthy.
New Orleans is still figuring out rotations and the lineups that work together. They have played 10 or more players in each of their four games. The lowest total amount of playing time in a game from a Pelican this season has been Nicolo Melli, logging seven minutes against Dallas. So the players in the rotation have been playing 10 or more minutes every game.
Even rookie Jaxson Hayes did not play in the first three games and he produced in his first regular season game. Hayes recorded 19 points in 24 minutes, so that’s another player for Alvin Gentry to consider.
The rotation will have to be cut to produce the most efficient lineups, and with Holiday and Williamson returning that could add to the questions surrounding the rotation.
It’s only been four games. These things take time. It’s not time to push the panic button. The Warriors game just was not what you would like to see from a group of young players figuring out how to win games together.