2018 New Orleans Pelicans Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
This feels like a really, really important year for the New Orleans Pelicans. Of course, we said the same thing last year. And the year before that. And the year before that. But this time it feels different. They have escaped the DeMarcus Cousins diversion without too much pain, and they have the most talented - or at least most logically assembled - roster they have had in a long time. Maybe ever. And the clock is also ticking on Anthony Davis. Are they going to be able to build a winner around him? Or do they have to accept reality and trade him away before they lose him for nothing? We will know a lot more about this team and their future than we do now - and there is at least a decent chance that that future won't be bleak.
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Nikola Mirotic arrived last year after Cousins was injured. He was so happy to be out of the mess that was Chicago that he played like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. He was a revelation. And now he has had an offseason to settle in. He fit in the frontcourt like a glove, and we should see more of the same this year.
One guy who doesn't get nearly enough credit is Jrue Holiday. He's a point guard who is playing less of that role and more of a combo guard now, and it is really working. He is the team's best defender - and one of the better ones in the league. But he can push the ball as well, and he can score. He's a swiss army knife and fully a crucial part of the core here. I feel like he can be sitting on a big year.
The best news on the Davis front -- aside from the fact that he is healthy - is that there are no questions about his role. This offense is all about him. No ifs, ands or buts. And he is one of the players in the league best suited to that kind of role. Like Holiday, he could be sitting on a big season - big even for him.
2018 New Orleans Pelicans Additions and Departures
It was both a very interesting and very productive offseason. The team has taken some gambles but ones that are pretty easy to get behind - deals with serious upside. The team grabbed Julius Randle as a free agent - a move they were able to do after Rajon Rondo went to the Lakers, so the teams made an unplanned trade. If I was a Lakers fan I would be sad Randle is gone. He has been making real progress forward and is defensively excellent. He and Davis and Mirotic have the makings of a very good front court.
Elfrid Payton was a high draft pick who hasn't really paid off yet, but you have to wonder how much of that is due to where he was forced to play. No one is turning Orlando into a winner by himself. Payton is a very strong playmaker, though, and in a backcourt with Holiday he doesn't have to feel like he has to do everything by himself right away. There is real upside here for a talented young guy.
Jahlil Okafor has had a rough time in the league and has not been particularly good. But there is no better guy for him to learn from than Davis, and if he is hungry this will be a huge opportunity for him. He won't have to start or play a ton of minutes, but if he can be valuable when he does play his impact could be significant - certainly when you factor in the price they paid for him.
The team didn't have a first-round pick, and their second-round selection, point guard Tony Carr from Penn State, is playing in Europe. But there is an interesting rookie from a draft to look at. Frank Jackson came to the Pelicans last year in a draft day trade, but the second-round pick lost all of last year to injury. The former five-star point guard recruit from Duke is freakishly athletic. He's raw, so they will have to be patient, but fans of the Pelicans are very excited about him. If he can develop into a useful player then the backcourt depth for this team is as strong as their frontcourt.
2018 New Orleans Pelicans Futures Odds and Trends
NBA title odds ( from Bovada ) : +12500
Western Conference title odds : +6000
Anthony Davis MVP Odds : +400 (second best)
Season win total: 45.5
The Pelicans finished 52-38-2 ATS, so there were good profits to be had. In fact, they were the fifth-most-profitable team in the league and one of just eight that were profitable on the season. They went "over" 51 times and "under" 39, so there were good profits on the total as well. The team was frustrating to watch but good to bet on.
2018 New Orleans Pelicans Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I knew I was going to be optimistic about this team this year as I watched them totally dismantle Portland in the first round of the playoffs last year. Sure, Portland isn't a great team, but they are sound, and the Pelicans made them look silly. That was a glimpse of what this team can do.
And I really liked the offseason they had. I am less of a fan of Rondo than some, so his departure doesn't concern me. This is a team that will be dangerous on both ends of the court, and very tough to play against. I am very bullish on Davis this year and think that there is a ton of value in the over on the season win total here.
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