What Could The Pelicans Do In The Season Restart?
The NBA will be restarting their season this month, and the New Orleans Pelicans are still alive for a magical playoff run. The way the league will be holding this restart is kind of interesting. Here's what NBA.com says about how the playoffs will be determined:
"The seven teams in each conference with the best records (regular-season games + seeding games) will have clinched a playoff spot. The usual tie-breaker scenarios will be in place for those seeds. The eighth seed could potentially come down to a play-in tournament."
Which then brings up "play-in tournament" rules? What would that look like? NBA.com has that answer too:
"If the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, no play-in tournament will be necessary. The final playoff berth will simply go to the team with the eighth best record (regular-season games + seeding games).
But if the team with the eighth-best record in its conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best record in the same conference, then we'll have a battle for the final spot between those two teams.
The tournament will basically be a best-of-two series -- where the No. 9 seed will have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot. "
Got it? Probably not, but that's fine. Basically the teams that catch fire will have the best chance to win. Which brings me to the New Orleans Pelicans. A team that a lot of people are sleeping on.
They're clearly led on the court by super rookie Zion Williamson, who is technically still a rookie. But he got a late start to the season, got a taste of the league, and now has had another stretch of rest. Zion now has experience, and rest, which sets him up to come back like a second year player.
But it's not just Zion, this team is loaded with former All-Stars and highly touted prospects. Scoring leader Brandon Ingram, rebound leader Derrick Favors, and assists leader Lonzo Ball have now all had time on the court with veteran leaders Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick. The youth has been able to mix with experience on the floor this year, and now some of those tired legs, like Redick's, have been able to rest up for a weird late season push.
This team has a ton of talent, the trade that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles may have set up New Orleans perfectly for this type of scenario. Even though no one would have ever planned for something like this ahead of time.
Because the way this season will end won't be like an NBA season. The courts will be set up like an AAU tournament, teams won't be traveling, this will be rapid fire. You won't see guys able to take nights off, there will be no one getting more rest down the stretch over their competition. All of the advantages you could gain as a top seed rolling into the playoffs are pretty much erased. Which could really benefit a team of young, talented stars.
The games will start for real at the very end of July, and the NBA Finals will be wrapped up before October ends. So lets get it rolling. Let's see what these young Pelicans can do...