There haven't been many bright spots for the New Orlean Pelicans this season. They're without their Superstar Zion Williamson and have started the year with a 1-7 record. When you dive into the numbers for the Pelicans it makes sense that they're struggling. They're scoring the 23rd least amount of points in the NBA, and also giving up the 23rd most amount of points in the NBA.
Getting Zion back will certainly help some of these problems but as we've seen with the Pelicans so far, their problems are much more than just not having Zion. Brandon Ingram is once again having an incredible year. Some others have given some nice production, as Jonas Valanciunas is really stepping up for the Pelicans. Devonte' Graham has also looked good for the Pelicans early on.
If they had Zion right now they probably aren't a 1-7 team as he contributes at a high level on both sides of the floor. Unfortunately for them, they don't exactly know the timetable for when Zion is going to return, and by the time he gets back, it might be too late for them to make any noise this season. They also have lost four starters, with Zion out, Lonzo ball being traded, Eric Bledsoe being traded, and Steven Adams also being treated. Everybody knew it was going to be a tough year for the Pelicans but no one imagined that they'll be starting the season as the worst team in the Western Conference.
Jonas Valanciunas has been a good player his entire career but it'd be tough to say that anybody was ever expecting him to do what he's doing right now.
Jonas Valanciunas had some career years in Memphis. He's continuing to do the same thing in New Orleans. This season Valanciunas is averaging 19.9 points per game, and he's currently second in the league with 14.5 rebounds per game. He also has the 16th best PER in the NBA.
Valanciunas is really putting together an impressive stretch of games within his last six games. He's averaging 22 points over that stretch. He had an incredible game with 22 points and also grabbed 23 rebounds. The Pelicans big man has certainly been the surprise of this team. He's currently playing at an All-Star level.
Now the one question is when Zion comes back, are there going to be any issues for their offense due to the lack of spacing on the floor? The answer to that question is yes. The Pelicans will have to figure something out when Zion comes back because there's going to be zero spacing. They don't have many three-point shooters and that will be an issue.
New Orleans missed the playoffs last season and it looks like it's going to happen again this year.
The Pelicans will surely have to figure this out as they will have three potential All-Star players. A team with Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Jonas Valanciunas has a chance to compete in the Western Conference. Hopefully, that will be the case when Zion returns. They will have to do something to keep Zion happy. A big off-season next year will help them out.