VI: New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans are an NBA team that feels closer to an NBA Championship than the team truly is. While the Pelicans are knock knock knocking on the postseason’s door, they seem to have a glass ceiling that they cannot break through.
The Pelicans have been in existence since 2002-03, and they have had some pretty good teams over the course of the past 20 years. But as is the case for many NBA teams, they are locked in limbo. That is, their team is too good to end up with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, but the team is not good enough to advance in the NBA Playoffs. And so, the team oscillates between 30 wins and 50 wins, never becoming too bad but never becoming too good.
With a trio of high-performing players of C.J. McCollum, Brandon Ingram, and Zion Williamson, it’s safe to expect the Pelicans to make the 2024 NBA Playoffs. But what happens if one of the stars is injured? We know the Pelicans struggled with multiple injuries last season. But that has been the knock against Zion Williamson all along. Until Williamson proves to be more durable, I cannot see the Pelicans being a true playoff contender.
V: Memphis Grizzlies
While the Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the hotter NBA teams of late, they are also one of the most challenged teams in the NBA. The Grizzlies have unwisely built the team around the special talents of PG Ja Morant.
While the focus on the Grizzlies roster will be on the 25-game suspension of Grizzlies PG Ja Morant, the bigger story this season will be the loss of free-agent small forward Dillon Brooks, who will compete for the Houston Rockets this season.
The Grizzlies added the venerable point guard Derrick Rose to help the team bridge the gap until Morant returns from his suspension, but he will only help to absorb minutes, as his best playing days have come and gone.
The Grizzlies have a talented young roster, but the team has peaked in terms of their current roster potential. After the 2023-24 NBA season, it will be very difficult to pay every player what they believe they are worth. Just like Dillon Brooks, bigger sacks of cash will cannibalize the Grizzlies’ roster if the team does not make a run for the NBA Championship this season. Unfortunately, they are not in the right position to do so.