Which Peli-Can Play D!?

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Pelicans Defense

The story in the Crescent City all year has been about the pitiful Pelicans’ defense. From the season opening jump ball through Dec. 17th, our Pels played like some voodoo spell was cast upon them from the depths of of the French Quarter! They ranked 28th out of 30 teams with a 114.4 Defensive Rating! DISGRACEFUL! During that stretch, they accrued a 6-22 record. Queue rebellion!

“Blow it up!”

“Fire Gentry!”

“We taking LaMelo #1!”

-Pels fans on social media.

YEET!

Just as fans began to embrace the tank, the Pelicans hit ’em with a curve-ball! Since Dec. 18th, the Pels rank 11th with a 107.8 Defensive Rating. To top it off, they have a mother-flocking 9-4 record during that same period! What has changed to spark this turnaround?

2 Things: Sexual Favors & Individual D.

Get ya mind out the gutter! Derrick Favors is a true, big bodied rim protector, and the Pels missed him in the beginning of the season. His return to health has been invaluable to the team. His return, not surprisingly, was also met with improved individual defensive numbers for most of the flock! Let’s take a look!

Individual DFG% Until 12/17/19

PlayerAgePos.DFG%FG%Diff%
Jrue Holiday29G40.745.3-4.8
Frank Jackson21G41.044.3-3.4
Josh Hart24G-F42.945.2-2.3
Jaxson Hayes19C46.747.6-0.8
Kenrich Williams26F47.245.31.9
Brandon Ingram22F47.345.32.0
Lonzo Ball22G48.244.63.6
NAW21G49.144.64.6
JJ Redick35G49.544.84.7
E’Twaun Moore30G48.543.84.7
Jah Okafor24C53.548.05.5
Nicolo Melli28F-C55.145.89.3
Derrick Favors28C59.446.712.6

All stats from NBA.com.

It should be noted, that Derrick Favors was playing through an injury during the beginning of the season, and he missed time to handle a personal matter. However, Jrue, Frank, Josh and Jax were the only players able to negatively impact their opponents shots(which is a positive) early on. Kenrich and Ingram were borderline respectable. The rest were practically turnstiles!

This guy offered a live look at the Pelicans’ defense during that run.

Effects of a Healthy Favors

PlayerAgePos.DFG%FG%Diff%
Kenrich Williams26F27.744.7-17.0
E’Twaun Moore30G36.845.5-8.7
Jaxson Hayes19C41.046.5-5.5
Frank Jackson21G43.645.7-2.2
Lonzo Ball22G42.244.3-2.1
Jrue Holiday29G44.244.7-0.5
Nicolo Melli28F-C45.946.3-0.3
Brandon Ingram22F45.644.41.2
Derrick Favors28C50.048.31.7
Jah Okafor 24C51.749.02.7
Josh Hart24G-F48.345.23.1
NAW21G48.344.04.3
JJ Redick35G50.044.06.0

All stats from NBA.com.

The impact is real! Ten of thirteen players have seen an improvement since Favors returned. And, of the three who regressed, Jrue and Frank are still holding their match-ups below their season FG%. Ever been at the bar, and feel a lot more confident telling some asshole where to shove his pool cue, because you’ve got your corn-fed friend backing you up!? We are seeing the same thing transpire on the NBA court right now with the Pelicans’ defense. Favors’ presence is allowing everyone to play more aggressive on D.

Playoffs Within Reach!?

They are surging at the right time! To this point of the NBA season, New Orleans has faced the toughest strength of schedule in the league. They have made it through the storm, and there are reasons to be hopeful! Currently, they sit just 4 games out of the eighth seed with 41 games remaining. They have the eighth easiest strength of schedule remaining. And, Jrue Holiday, J.J. Redick and some guy named Zion are all expected back within a week! Take Flight, Pels! It’s looking up!

Now that LSU has beat the piss out of Clemson, the Pelicans are the only real show in town! And, HTM is here for it!

-Ghost

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