Jrue Holiday

Kevin Jairaj - USA TODAY Sports

Pelicans built for success in reformatted NBA


By: Mark Menard

When the NBA resumes its pandemic-interrupted season next month, the Pelicans will have eight games to make their case for the playoffs. The good news though, according to Oleh Kosel of TheBirdWrites.com, is that the team's core skillset could be exactly the type of game that gives opponents fits as teams try to shake off the rust of a four-month layoff.

Kosel said the Pels had found a nice groove when the season was halted, having fully integrated Zion Williamson into the lineup after the rookie star missed the first half of the season due to knee surgery.

"They jumped up six points per game with Zion," Kosel said. "And they suddenly started scoring all these easy points. They were fifth in getting to the free throw line, first in getting shots off inside the restricted area. So basically, they're good at scoring easy points. And that's what I think they're gonna need to do because there's gonna be so much rust. There are gonna be teams lacking chemistry.

"So the ones that are just basically more talented, more athletic, and can do the things that come easier are gonna be more successful."

Kosel made the Pelicans' case while appearing on Thursday's edition of "Sports Talk" on WWL Radio, and he says their aggressive style of play may very well be just the thing that makes them formidable in the environment of a restarted NBA.

"They're used to chaotic environments, right?" Kosel posited. "They love to push the basketball. And we've complained all season that they commit too many turnovers, but you know what? Now I think everybody's gonna be on the same footing with the amount of turnovers because of all that rust. So suddenly the Pelicans' biggest drawback isn't such a negative."

When all is said and done, Kosel believes the Pels could very well push their way into the postseason.

"When you don't have home-court advantage and the fact that the Pelicans really took care of business against sub-.500 teams, and we're thinking six of the eight on their schedule are gonna be sub-.500, it's all looking pretty good from where you're sitting as a Pelicans fan," Kosel said.

You can hear Kosel's full interview with Kristian Garic by clicking the podcast link. The NBA resumes on July 31.

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