The New Orleans Pelicans had playoff aspirations last season.
Unfortunately, for the third consecutive season, the Pelicans failed to make the postseason.
That turned into the least of their worries.
The Pelicans have faced a tough time over the last couple of years; and there is no end in sight.
This franchise is in the midst of huge turmoil.
Problems arise for every team in one way or another.
However, the Pelicans have a litany of issues.
Granted, there are several issues that are looming large for the Pelicans franchise.
This article is going to touch base with the three biggest problems the Pelicans are facing at the moment heading into next season.
3. Roster Construction
The Pelicans have never been the face of roster construction.
In fact, that has been one of their biggest downfalls as a franchise.
Their superstar player, Zion Williamson, thrives on spacing so he can bully his way into the paint.
Those additions made no sense to the public.
Luckily, they had Lonzo Ball, who worked on his jump shot tremendously.
Adams and Bledsoe are gone, but they brought back Jonas Valanciunas; another big that cannot really stretch the floor.
Furthermore, they ended up losing Ball in free agency.
His replacement is Devonte’ Graham, who is a notoriously bad shooter based on percentages.
Devonte’ Graham is a 36.4% career shooter.
His 37.7 FG% last season was the worst by any player with 650+ attempts.
As a comparison, his new teammate shot 61.1%. pic.twitter.com/TG7HI4fmZF
— StatMuse (@statmuse) August 3, 2021
This is despite his high volume of shot attempts.
To go along with those questionable moves from the offensive standpoint; they are not the best defensively.
Bledsoe, Adams, and Ball had defensive pedigree on some level.
The new additions don’t, which hurt when you look at how the Pelicans were 24th in opponents points per game last season.
For another season, the Pelicans have a roster filled with flaws.
2. Zion Leaving?
Williamson is already the face of the Pelicans franchise.
That is an incredible feat with him entering his third year in the league, and second full season.
We usually see these types of players stay with the team that drafted them for at least seven to eight years.
They sign the first big extension and wait until that is up to enter free agency.
However, Williamson might take a different approach.
There are rumors swirling that his own family is trying to get him to force his way out of New Orleans.
The New Orleans Pelicans have been unable to put together the right elements to make Zion Williamson and his family happy, per @TheAthleticNBA
"Multiple sources have told The Athletic that certain family members want Williamson on another team." 😳 pic.twitter.com/6kfWYLqX4V
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 17, 2021
That would be unprecedented, but the belief is that it is quite possible.
Why is that?
The Pelicans have already done a disservice to Williamson in three years.
We discussed the roster construction previously.
Williamson is entering his third head coach in three years.
— The Association on FOX (@TheAssociation) July 22, 2021
The fan base can’t seem to care less about the team.
Williamson is a superstar in this league, but the Pelicans are already close to losing him.
1. Their History And Future
The Pelicans have been a poorly run organization back to their time as the Hornets.
They botched the Chris Paul era and had to start fresh.
That led them to Anthony Davis, which also ended badly.
Now, we are at Williamson, and that relationship is already deteriorating.
They have had three superstars and have never reached the Conference Finals.
To go along with the lack of success on the court; there have been issues off the court.
The team continues to lose money.
However, the owner is still trying to find a way to keep the team in New Orleans.
The writing is on the wall though.
Their lease for the stadium is up in a few years.
To make matters worse, they might even relocate to a different state altogether.
Pelicans are seen as the most likely team to seek relocation in the coming decade, per @johnhollinger
NOLA’s lease goes through 2024 pic.twitter.com/bmZ2Agnpvt
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) June 17, 2021
There are so many issues the Pelicans need to face before it is too late.