Heading into the 2022-23 NBA season, New Orleans Pelicans fans are hoping for a big jump in the standings with the return of a healthy Zion Williamson and a maturing roster that took the Phoenix Suns to six games in the opening round of the Western Conference. . decisive games.
How close are the Pels to being a legitimate championship contender?
To answer that, you first need to understand the components of an NBA champion team. After looking at the last decade of champions, a few trends stand out.
This is the fourth part of a five-part series that identifies the keys to victory.
The home court is important in the NBA.
During last season’s playoffs, the team that held the home advantage in each series finished 12-3. In all cases where a team managed to take down the highest ranked opponent, it took seven games and a rare win on the opponent’s court to advance.
If the New Orleans Pelicans are looking to hold the Larry O’Brien trophy at the end of the 2022-23 season, the franchise will have to make the Smoothie King Center a much less hospitable place for visiting teams.
Last season, the Pels finished their roster at home with a 19-22 record. Only five Western Conference teams finished with fewer home wins (San Antonio, Sacramento, Portland, OKC, Portland).
Golden State went 31-10 at the Chase Center during the regular season and 11-1 in the postseason as the Warriors won their fourth franchise title in eight years.
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This is consistent with the performance of champion teams over the past decade. The last team standing has a 320-79 home record, a win percentage of over 80%.
Meanwhile, the Pelicans went 19-22 at The Blender, finishing below 0.500 at home for the third time in four years. New Orleans has not had a home win record since the playoffs in 2018.
The best the franchise has done in the last 10 years is a 28-13 mark during the 2014-15 season. Even the worst champion of that era, the 2020 Lakers, ended up with a better win percentage.
It’s hard to blame the support of the fans when, in terms of the team’s on-court performance, attendance was solid. Based on ESPN numbers and in terms of percentage of tickets sold, the Pelicans ranked 15th in the NBA for domestic support. That’s better than the Suns, Grizzlies, Clippers, Nuggets and Spurs.
Considering that New Orleans is one of the smallest markets in the league, as people tend to remember Pelicans fans, the fact that fan participation has climbed to 13th in the rankings without falling below 20th in the past ten years is remarkable.
It shows that Pels 12 appeared quite consistently, while the team was a thought that at times felt like a relentless cycle of players and expectations.
And the fact is, the Pelicans 12 coming on the court this season will have to do a better job than they did last year.
Taking on the Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center has to be the worst part of any opposing player’s trip to Crescent City.
It’s time for the New Orleans Pelicans to become very bad hosts and leave hospitality to industry professionals.