The NBA is BACK!
With the start of the NBA season, I thought I’d look at some NBA teams that are going under-the-radar heading into the season. Here are five teams to keep an eye on for the 2020-21 NBA season.
- The New Orleans Pelicans
I know, I know. The Pelicans, with Zion, under-the radar? Hear me out.
When’s the last time the national media has talked about Zion and the Pelicans? It seems like all that is being discussed in the NBA right now is one of these three topics: When and where James Harden will be traded, how much better are the Lakers this season than the last, and how will the Brooklyn Nets look with KD and Kyrie. The occasional conversation about whether or not the Clippers can bounce back from last years disappointment is brought up, with a sprinkling of Luka Doncic for MVP talk, and a side of how the Golden State Warriors will look without Klay Thompson.
The only time the Pelicans have been discussed by the national media since last season was when they traded Jrue Holiday to the Milwaukee Bucks. Even then, nobody talked about New Orleans side of the deal. Everyone focused on Milwaukee’s side of the deal.
So, yes, the Pelicans have gone under-the-radar, but they are about to gain more attention once the season starts. Zion is the obvious reason, but looking at their roster, they have a good mix of guys.
It starts with Brandon Ingram (We’ll get to Zion). The Wiz Khalifa look-a-like put up numbers last season. Those numbers propelled him to win the Most Improved Player Award.
If Ingram continues to take steps in the right direction with his game such as playing off the ball and becoming a better defender then there he’ll be an all-star for many years to come.
Another player to keep an eye on this year on the Pelicans is Lonzo Ball. The oldest Ball brother enters his fourth season in the league with the same concerns when he entered the league: Can Lonzo develop a consistent jumper.
He showed improvement at the beginning of last season, but he looked like the Lonzo of old in the bubble. If Ball can consistently knock it down from beyond the arc, then that pick-and-roll with Zion will be scary for defenders.
Speaking of Zion, it seems like the hype around him as cooled off. Ever since he missed the start of the last season, people have cooled off on the 20-year old. Well, Zion’s about to remind people why he was the most hype prospect since LeBron James.
Zion averaged about 22 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes a game. That’s ridiculous! His numbers will only going up with more playing time, and those highlights will too. Look for Zion to be a regular on SportsCenter Top 10 play’s and make his first All-Star game this year.
As for the rest of the Pelicans roster, they’ve got some good ball players. They have a good mix of good veterans and young, promising players. Eric Bledsoe, Steven Adams, and JJ Reddick headline the veterans and Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr, Nickel Alexander-Walker, along with Zion, Ball, and Ingram represent the young guns.
Look for New Orleans to make some noise in the Western Conference if everyone can stay healthy. That’s a big if, but it’s one every basketball fan hopes for because who doesn’t want to see Zion play.