The 2023-24 New Orleans Pelicans’ Season Preview

September 18th, 2023

by Alan Lu

Last season, the Pelicans got off to a hot start, but things fell apart when Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram got hurt for awhile. They couldn’t quite keep things together while they were short handed, so they ended up losing in the play-in tournament.

They went through some turmoil in the offseason because of items related to Zion’s personal life, but they are hoping that will not affect them for the upcoming season. If they can stay healthy, the Pelicans could make some noise for the 2023-24 NBA season.

Zion and Brandon Ingram have teamed up to be a formidable duo when they’re healthy, but injuries derailed the Pelicans’ plans last season.
(Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images, via SB Nation’s Duke Basketball Report)

Star Players:

F Zion Williamson and F Brandon Ingram

Zion Williamson is a tremendously athletic, All-Star forward that has been very productive when he’s healthy, but he’s also an oft-injured forward that has missed considerable time over the years. Brandon Ingram is a very skilled scorer that can create matchup problems that would swing in favor of his team, and together, Williamson and Ingram can create a formidable form to help the Pelicans.

Additions:

C Cody Zeller, F E.J. Liddell and G Jordan Hawkins

The Pelicans may not have made splashy moves in the offseason, but they were able to get several players that could help their team both now and in the future. Zeller is an experienced, veteran big man that could be the Pelicans’ backup center for the upcoming season, and Liddell and Hawkins are talented prospects that could end up being solid players in the future.

Subtractions:

C Jaxson Hayes, G-F Josh Richardson, C Willy Hernangómez, and G-F Garrett Temple

The Pelicans lost a couple of players in the offseason, but they most notably lost Hayes, a young, energetic center that provided rim protection, and Josh Richardson, a smart veteran role player that excelled in a 3 and D role.

Rookies:

F E.J. Liddell and G Jordan Hawkins

After missing an entire season due to injury last year, E.J. Liddell will finally be healthy enough to contribute and make an impact, and is a strong, athletic combo forward that projects well into a 3 and D role in the NBA. Hawkins led UConn to win the National Championship in 2023, and he is an agile, sharpshooting guard that projects to be one of the best shooters of the 2023 draft.

Expected Rotation:

Jonas Valanciunas played very well at the 2023 Basketball World Cup, and he’s hoping to channel that positive momentum to help the Pelicans for the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season.
(Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images, via DraftKings Network)

They have a talented group of starters that could potentially beat teams with a lot of firepower, but they haven’t been able to stay on the court or play together due to injuries. They’ll need to stay healthy, but if they can, they could surprise people and be a very good team in the West.

Projected Starting Lineup:

C Jonas Valančiūnas

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F Zion Williamson

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F Brandon Ingram

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G Herbert Jones

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G CJ McCollum

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Key Bench Players:

Trey Murphy III is a solid role player that was expected to play a pivotal role for the Pelicans this year, but he then tore a meniscus in the offseason, so he might not play nearly as much, if at all this season.
(Photo: Andrew Wevers/USA Today Sports, via SBNation.com)

The Pelicans have some solid contributors that have had to play larger roles due to other players’ injuries. But if their team is at full strength, they could scale back and play roles that better fit their skill sets. In that case, they could give the Pelicans a boost off the bench.

F Trey Murphy III

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F Larry Nance Jr.

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G-F Dyson Daniels

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G Kira Lewis Jr.

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G Jose Alvarado

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The Rest of the Roster:

G-F Naji Marshall

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F E.J. Liddell

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G Jordan Hawkins

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C Cody Zeller

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G Dereon Seabron (Two-Way)

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Others in Camp:

G-F Landers Nolley II (Exhibit 10)

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G-F Tevian Jones (Exhibit 10)

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C Liam Robbins (Exhibit 10)

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C Trey Jamison (Exhibit 10)

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Head Coach:

Willie Green was able to get his team to the playoffs in his first season as a head coach in 2022, but his team had a rocky 2023, but he will hope to get them back to the playoffs in 2024.
(Photo: Rick Bowmer/The Associated Press, via Orange County Register)

Willie Green
2022-23 (NOP): 42-40, missed the playoffs
Coaching Career: 78-86, 2-4 in the NBA Playoffs

He’s been in a unique situation because his teams have never really been at full strength. He’s done an admirable job of cobbling things together in the past couple of years to keep New Orleans competitive.

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Outlook:

The New Orleans Pelicans have a high ceiling for this season, but their team will have to avoid injuries to allow them to make the playoffs in 2024.
(Photo: Cooper Neill/NBAE via Getty Images, via Andscape)

The Pelicans are a tough to predict. If they’re healthy, they could be one of the better teams in the West. Otherwise, if they continue to have injury issues, they could be on the outside looking in, and miss the playoffs.

Projected 2023-24 Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 10th in the Western Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to lose in the play-in tournament and miss the playoffs
2023-24 Preseason NBA Power Ranking: 16

I went to Basketball-Reference and No-Trade Clause to look up some information for this write-up. It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing the in-season tournament to see how that will unfold. Anyways, that is my write-up on my preview of the 2023-24 New Orleans Pelicans. Thanks for reading.

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