The Pelicans have never really been a solid defensive team, and this particular squad is no different, often finding itself in high-scoring games.
But they have a new head coach this season, and Stan Van Gundy, being a defensive guy, has made it clear that the team needs to improve in that area.
New Orleans ranks 26th in points per game, giving up 115.7 on average. That’s awful, and the team is lucky to be in the mix for a playoff spot, as those type of numbers are conducive to a team even worse than 14-19 — their current record.
Van Gundy isn’t running from their issues, either. In fact, he recently addressed them, making it clear that they can’t just expect to out-score teams on any given night.
“That’s the problem, when you have to shoot the ball well to win,” he said, via NBA.com. “That’s going to be a problem. Guys are going to have bad nights shooting the ball. You’ve got to be able to win games where you don’t shoot well, and right now we can’t. We’re totally dependent on our offense to win games, and that’s not going to take you very far.”
It starts with Zion Williamson, as he’s been awful on the defensive end this season. Teams that can’t defend the rim don’t have success at the professional level, and Williamson needs to be more of an enforcer in the paint.