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New Orleans Pelicans: 2016 Preview, Offseason/Draft Recap, Outlook

New Orleans Pelicans 2016 NBA Season Preview

October 25, 2016

NBA Championship: 150/1 Over/under win total: 37.5 See the Latest Odds

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The New Orleans Pelicans come into this season on the heels of a disappointing 2015-16 campaign that saw the team go from potential playoff contender to the lottery in the span of a few months finishing with a 30-52 record.

Here is your 2016 New Orleans Pelicans preview.

New Orleans Pelicans: 2016 Preview, Offseason/Draft Recap, Outlook

USA TODAY Sports

Farewell too soon. The Pelicans will have heavy hearts to start the season as we learned of the passing of guard Bryce Dejean-Jones at the young age of 23. Dejean-Jones was reportedly trying to enter his ex-girlfriend’s apartment to return to his daughter’s first birthday, after taking a walk and proceeded to kick in the door of the wrong apartment, resulting in the person living in that apartment to pull a gun and fireat Dejean-Jones where he was later pronounced dead at a Dallas hospital. Dejean-Jones is the first player to pass away while actively playing in the NBA since Minnesota’s Eddie Griffin passed away at the age of 25 due to a car accident.

Roster Subtractions: Most notably, the Pelicans said goodbye to a pair of longtime servicemen. Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon both packed up and signed multi-year deals with the Houston Rockets. Gordon averaged 15.2 points over 32.9 minutes per game while putting up a career-high, shooting 89% from the free throw line, playing in 45 games for the Pelicans in 2015-16, a season shortened by reoccurring finger issues on his shooting hand. Anderson had to carry his own share of the offensive load, putting up 17 points and 6 rebounds over 66 appearances and only 7 starts, averaging just over 30 minutes per game. While it’s not a permanent subtraction, New Orleans will also be without point guard Jrue Holiday for the foreseeable future as he will be dealing with family matters.

Breaking Down the Draft: The Pelicans found their man to replace Eric Gordon, selecting Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield with the 6th overall pick in the draft. Hield won the John Wooden award in 2016 for being the top outstanding player in the NCAA while also receiving the Naismith college player of the year award and being a first-team All-American. In his senior season, Hield played in all 37 games, logging 25 points, 5.7 rebounds and a pair of assists while leading the nation in 3-point attempts. Hield also managed to almost join the 50-40-90 club in college as he shot 50.1% from the field, 45.7% from 3-point ranged and 88% from the free throw line.

New Orleans swapped their back-to-back 2nd-round picks with the Clippers for the draft right to Kansas big man, Cheick Diallo.

Outlook: While New Orleans will open the season with heavy hearts, playing for Dejean-Jones, it’s going to be hard for this Pelicans squad to contend. Yes, they have one of the best players in the league in Anthony Davis, and some solid young pieces like the aforementioned Buddy Hield and Tyreke Evans, there’s not much depth that can get these guys over the hump when Evans isn’t on the floor. Add in the fact that they are in one of the toughest divisions in the league, and it all spells another lottery pick for the Pelicans.

Projected record: 36-46

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