Those of you who are about ready to jump off of the New Orleans Pelicans bandwagon, please back away from the ledge.
As of Sunday, there have been just six games on the season and 76 more to go — plenty of basketball left to play.
Even though the team is 1-5, it has never been at full strength. Injuries have already plagued the Pels, who have been without rookie forward and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson, who is still recovering from knee surgery.
Williamson is projected to be the starter at the power forward position, and while he is out, head coach Alvin Gentry has tried different lineups with a new starter at the four, including moving starting small forward Brandon Ingram to that spot and Josh Hart to the three. He has also tried starting rookie Nicolo Melli at power forward.
In addition to Williamson’s absence, team leader Jrue Holiday has also missed some time, as has starting center Derrick Favors.
So even though through the first seven games, the team has only generated one win, take a look at who it was against.
In the season opener, they took the defending champion Toronto Raptors to overtime and fell to Southwest Division foes Houston and Dallas by a combined 10 points.
They then turned around and had a dismal performance against the new-look Golden State Warriors, who are going through their own struggles early this season. The final from that game was 134-123 but the score is a misrepresentation of how things went that night for New Orleans.
Looking at an 0-4 start to the year, the team finally put it together in front of a national audience, defeating a very good Denver Nuggets team that was the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs last season.
The win generated a boost for the team, but it did not last long, as two days later the Pels found themselves on the short end of a 115-104 decision to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And while the 1-5 start to the year is not a good stat, let’s take a look at one that is. Ingram, who was one of the pieces that came over in the Anthony Davis trade, has been phenomenal. The fourth-year pro is averaging a team-high 23.5 points per game and is shooting 51.5% percent from the field.
One disappointment that I’ve seen as far as personnel is Lonzo Ball, who I believe hasn’t lived up to his potential. Another one of those pieces that came over from LA in the Davis trade, he has shown his skills as an elite passer, but that is about it. He needs to ramp up his game or he will find himself coming off the bench while Frank Jackson or rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker get the starts.
While this is a disappointing start to the season for the Pelicans, it’s no cause to hit the panic button.
Again, there is still plenty of time to turn things around for a bunch that is still going through the process of learning each other’s games and tendencies.