The Pelicans currently have a 1-11 record, worst in the NBA. They’ve lost eight games in a row. David Griffin, the team’s executive VP of basketball operations, is reportedly on the hot seat. All-Star Zion Williamson has yet to play a game following foot surgery. Fellow former All-Star Brandon Ingram is out for the seventh consecutive game with a hip contusion, per Christian Clark of NOLA.com (Twitter link).
Coach Willie Green said Ingram could return soon following a full practice yesterday, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN (Twitter link). Obviously, that won’t happen tonight.
Needless to say, things are not going well in New Orleans.
According to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com, Griffin has done a poor job building the roster around Zion and Ingram. Kushner says the team’s first-round draft picks under Griffin (aside from Zion) haven’t proven to be reliable rotation players, let alone pieces to build around. He didn’t list them by name, but he was referring to Jaxson Hayes (8th), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (17th), Kira Lewis (13th), and rookie Trey Murphy (17th).
Kusher notes that despite modest expectation from fans, the team is failing to deliver an interesting, competitive product that has a clear direction, and that falls squarely on Griffin.
Here’s more from the Southwest:
- Alexander-Walker has been heavily scrutinized for a slow start to the season, but he was one of the silver linings of the Pelicans‘ loss to the Thunder on Wednesday, scoring 22 points in the fourth quarter. Will Guillory of The Athletic opines that keeping Alexander-Walker in attack-mode is one of the keys for the Pelicans to turn their losing streak around. Guillory also believes the team needs to shorten the rotation and keep believing in each other.
- Despite being in-and-out of the lineup, Thaddeus Young‘s professionalism and workman-like mentality have rubbed off on the young Spurs. He’s also been highly productive in his limited minutes. Young is a free agent at the end of the season and is viewed as a valuable trade chip. He knows he may not last the entire season with the team, but that hasn’t impacted his mindset, writes Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News. “I am not sure what is going to happen with me, whether I will be here next year or if I will be here past the trade deadline,” Young said. “But, at the end of the day, at this point in time, this moment, I am here, I am a San Antonio Spur and I am planning on giving 120 percent each night.”
- Check out our Pelicans and Spurs team pages for the most recent notes and rumors on the two teams.