2023-24 NBA Season Preview: New Orleans Pelicans

The 2023-24 NBA Season is on the horizon and the New Orleans Pelicans will enter the season hoping to keep their core healthy. They made quite a few roster changes in the offseason, so lets take a look.

2022-23 Season Recap:

The Pelicans fell short of their expectations a season ago, despite playing well in terms of their Defensive Rating of 112.5 (6th in the NBA) and the NET rating of 1.9 (10th in the NBA). They made it to the NBA Play-In, but that would be where their season ended. They finished with No. 9 seed and a 42-40 record. There may have been a variety of reasons for struggles throughout the season, but one specific reason is injuries. Brandon Ingram only played in 45 games, while Zion Williamson only played in 29.

There were some bright spots with CJ McCollum staying healthy, Herbert Jones looked like he could be a solid center for this group moving forward in a small ball lineup. He proved once again that he’s one of the best defenders in the league. Trey Murphy III vastly improved his totals from 2021-22, last season he averaged 14.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists. When he did play, Williamson reminded us all how special he is.

Key Additions:

Cody Zeller

No matter where he’s played, the 10-year NBA Veteran might not have been the best player on the court. However, he’s a valuable role player. With the Pelicans he could be a valuable backup at center.

Jordan Hawkins

The No. 14 overall pick projects as an impact shooter at the NBA level. His shot-making versatility was an integral part of UConn’s championship run. The 21-year-old averaged 16.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 37 games while shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and 38.8 percent from deep.

Key Losses:

Jaxson Hayes

The 23-year-old was on the rise to being the long-term center in New Orleans before last season. By the end of the year he had fallen out of the rotation. The Pelicans decided not to match the offer that the Lakers gave him.

Josh Richardson

Though, he only played 20 games with the Pelicans after being traded. His catch-and-shoot presence was key in those 20 games. He averaged 7.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.3 steals. With his defensive versatility also being key for the team.

Projected Roster:

Starters: McCollum, Ingram, Jones, Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas

The Pelicans appear to be running it back with the same starting lineup. If everyone can stay healthy this may be the breakout season for the Pels.

Bench: Murphy III, Dyson Daniels, Jose Alverado, Zeller, Larry Nance Jr., Naji Marshall, Kira Lewis Jr., Hawkins, Trey Jamison, Jalen Crutcher

This bench unit may not be as strong as some others around the league, but it should be deep enough to get the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2023-24 NBA Playoffs. Some of these players have been and would still would be starters elsewhere in the league.

Season Outlook:

If all goes as planned and the Big Three (CJ, Ingram, Zion) can stay healthy the Pelicans could really surprise the Western Conference. The Pelicans improved (6 wins) last year, just missing out on the playoffs. With that being said, I’d expect the Pelicans to go 43-39 making the playoffs as the No. 8 seed.


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