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3 Reasons why the New Orleans Pelicans Will Make the Playoffs

3. JJ Redick’s Playoff Streak

Three Reasons why I Believe the New Orleans Pelicans Will Make the Playoffs
JJ Redick dribbling a basketball for his former team (the Philadelphia 76ers
Photo courtesy of Stephen M Faulk of the Philadelphia Tribune

JJ Redick was once a star player at the University of Duke. However, he has turned into a solid 6th man/role player at the professional playing level. For his career, Redick has averaged a decent 13 points and two assists per game.

What makes these stats so weird is that during his thirteen-year career in the NBA Redick has yet to miss the playoffs. When talking with Zion Williamson, Redick jokingly stated: ” My first conversation, real conversation with Zion was a couple of weeks ago and we got to chat for twenty minutes or so after one of the workouts, and the last thing I said to him I said look man don’t fuck this up for me!”

2. Ja Morant Being Favored to win Rookie of the Year

Three Reasons why I Believe the New Orleans Pelicans Will Make the Playoffs
Ja Morant getting ready to dunk a basketball
Photo courtesy of e-News.us

Zion Williamson so far has had an impressive rookie season, averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Unfortunately, Williamson isn’t favored to win the 2019-20 Rookie of the year. This is in large part due to a knee injury that had led to him only playing nineteen games so far during the 2019-20 NBA season.

The other factor in Williamson not being favored to win the Rookie of the Year award is Ja Morant. Morant’s playing style can be described as smooth. He is very athletic and knows how to finish around the rim.

During his rookie season, Morant has averaged 17.6 points and 6.9 assists per game. He’s done so on an effective 49.1 percent shooting clip.

In the process, Morant has helped the Memphis Grizzlies improve from a 33-49 during the 2018-19 NBA season to a 32-33 record so far during the 2019-2020 NBA season.

When speaking on Bleacher Report’s “Take it There with Taylor Rooks” Morant was asked if he felt like it should be an even close race for the award.

Morant replied stating “Nah, I feel like I’ve done enough. I deserve it.”

Morant has also managed to play in fifty-nine of his team’s sixty-five games.

Most star NBA players don’t need anything to fuel their competitive edge. However, when another elite competitor such as Morant says words that cast doubt about Williamson’s abilities, it will motivate the entire team.

1. Remaining Strength of Schedule

Three Reasons why I Believe the New Orleans Pelicans Will Make the Playoffs
Lonzo Ball of the New Orleans Pelicans
photo courtesy of Marcel Mutoni of Slam magazine

To conclude the season the New Orleans Pelicans have one of the easiest schedules among teams fighting for a playoff birth.

They will play the Sacramento Kings twice, the Memphis Grizzlies twice, the San Antonio Spurs once, the Utah Jazz once, the L.A. Clippers once and the Orlando Magic once.

four of these six NBA teams hold a below .500 record.

This schedule results in a combined win percentage of 50.97 percent. While this number is technically considered above average, one must consider that only the top 22 of the league’s 30 teams were invited to participate in Orlando.

The top 22 teams in the NBA have a combined win percentage of 57.22 percent.

Therefore, the Pelicans have an easier remainder of schedule than the average team still competing for seeding/a playoff birth.

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