The New Orleans Pelicans have had a rough few years but this season was supposed to be theirs.
That is because Zion Williamson was set to finally return after a year-long absence.
His re-entry to the team, along with the strong core built over the last few years, gave them a lot of potential.
Sure enough, the team started to surge a couple of months ago and actually sat at the top of the Western Conference for a moment.
The Pelicans are now only 1 game ahead of play-in territory
— Coast 2 Coast (@Coast2CoastNBA) January 26, 2023
Since then, they have lost Williamson to injury again and have slipped in the standings.
They are now fourth in the West with a 26-23 record, which is just one game ahead of being in play-in tournament territory.
Following a tough defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, the Pels have lost six games in a row.
As we all know, teams positioned as seeds 7 through 10 at the start of the postseason have to participate in the play-in tournament.
The top two teams from those games will go on to the actual playoffs and the losers will be left out in the cold.
The Pelicans were in the play-in last season and they were hoping to avoid that this time.
They still have a lot of time to bounce back and climb in the West.
Brandon Ingram is now back and he will add a powerful force to the roster, and Williamson may return in a few weeks as well.
When he does come back, the team will have its entire squad and its best shot at truly doing great things.
Fans of the Pelicans are nervous right now, but they aren’t panicking.
They still believe that 2022-23 can belong to their team.
It won’t be easy but it’s certainly not impossible, no matter how the last few weeks have been.NEXT: NBA Insider Reveals Critical Brandon Ingram Update