The Pelicans new leaders of the Western Conference!

Upheaval in the hierarchy of the great west: the Pelicans are caliph instead of caliph Western Conference leaders. They are now ahead of the Suns and the Grizzlies, followed a bit further by the Nuggets and the Kings. Everything succeeds with the band from New Orleans… yes, but for how long? What will be important dates for the Pels in the future? When will their star winger Brandon Ingram return? Can Zion Williamson keep up? Let us try to clarify the perspectives.

It is thanks to the victory over the Pistons, coupled with the humiliation suffered by the Suns against Boston, that the Pels finally manage to reach the summit of the west, thus dethroning cacti which reigned there for several weeks. Finally, the inauguration of a new trophy by NBArewarding the team with the best record at the end of the regular season will undoubtedly have distressed Chris Paul at the idea of ​​finally being able to start filling his wardrobe.

An ultra-hype project, started during the draft of interplanetary prospect Zion Williamson in 2019 – after a particularly advantageous lottery for the Pels -, and fell well with the announcement of the Louisiana star’s white season at the dawn of the last season. A project that had already taken shape at the time of the last trade deadline, when the New Orleans front office acquired CJ McCollum from Portland, and which had materialized through an accession to the Playoffs despite going through the play-in tournament. It is precisely against the Suns that the Pelicans had already found themselves in the first round, coming out with their heads held high in six games after a good battle.

And with the return of the monster Zion, the spotlight was back on the franchise of Gayle Benson, the label of darling attached to the name of the Pelicans. It is clear that they did not disappoint. If most forecasts placed the Louisianans between sixth and ninth place in the west, or even at the end of the top 5 for the most ambitious among us, it is indeed the first position now occupied by CJ, Zion and co. But for how long ? To try to answer this question, let’s take a look at the upcoming calendar for the ars du bayou:

  • Friday, December 9: Suns Reception
  • Sunday, December 11: Suns Reception
  • Tuesday, December 13: Trip to the Jazz
  • Thursday, December 15: Trip to the Jazz
  • Saturday, December 17: Travel to the Suns
  • Monday, December 19: Bucks Reception
  • Thursday, December 22: Spurs reception
  • Friday, December 23: Travel to the Thunder
  • Monday, December 26: Pacers reception
  • Wednesday, December 28: Wolves reception

So much for the next 10 matches. Not the easiest schedule, clearly. In the best of scenarios, if the Pels managed to impose themselves twice during the three confrontations with the Suns, they could at the same time secure their place on the throne in a relatively lasting way. It will be necessary to check the date of the 19th as well, with in particular the clash between Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo which promises to be exciting. Because if there is one that can stop Nola’s young interior, it’s the Greek Freak. But Zion is not alone in his franchise, and if CJ McCollum is particularly effective at times, the return of Brandon Ingram should further strengthen the game of the Pelicans who could then chain the wins. And after seeing the winger shoot in training last night, the most optimistic fans can hope for a return on Friday, after 5 games away. Same observation for Herb Jones, who was already upgraded to “doubtful” status for the match against the Pistons.

A flurry of good news arrives in New Orleans therefore. Willie Green and his troupe now have all the cards in hand to ensure a bright future for their franchise, and even to keep the place of sheriff of the Wild West for a good part of the season. The others have now been warned: NOLA fires live ammunition.

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