Photo via New Orleans Pelicans Facebook

New Orleans Pelicans 2023-24 Season Preview

07:00 October 04, 2023
By: Kaitlin Lowe

The highly anticipated NBA 2023-24 season is on the horizon, and Where Y'At Magazine is thrilled to present an exclusive preview of our New Orleans Pelicans plans, preparations, and goals for the season.

The 2023-24 Season

"We're excited about this year," said General Manager Trajan Landon, "There's a bitter taste in the mouths of all our players with the way we ended last year and with all the injuries. We weren't able to show what we were truly capable of."

"When players, [and a team as a whole] aren't being talked about and the league forgets about your impact, they have an edge when coming in," says Langdon.

While the team has remained majorly the same, besides draft pick Jordan Hawkins and former Miami Heat player Cody Zeller, both Coach Green and Langdon have insisted on using continuity as a competitive edge. That is, "hitting the ground running" on day one of training camp with the team's existing familiarity and chemistry.

Coach Green, via New Orleans Pelicans Media Day

Langdon, Coach Green, and VP David Griffin agree that the time for the Pelicans is coming. To put it simply, Coach Green says the team recognizes the unfinished business of last season, and they're ready to make any adjustments necessary. And while everyone is excited to see the "Big 3" of Zion Willamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum back in action, Coach Green admits the success of the team must "be collective. No one guy off the bench or any starter can make it happen alone."

"What this team has is unique," said Griffin, "while we have to put in the work to prove ourselves on and off the court, when we're healthy, we're really good," citing occurrences such as Ingram's league dominating scoring record for a period of last season.

"The fans and players alike are ready for this team to succeed, sales are the best they've ever been" said Griffin, "everyone understands that there is a great deal riding on this season, but the great thing is we get to prove ourselves through the game."

Although optimistic regarding Zion, Coach Green reports that Ingram is in peak position and McCollum's growth has been "flooring," and "next level."

Coach Green further explained plans to ramp up the team's capability include working on quicker offense, confidence making threes, and maintaining health. Coach Green has made the goal clear, "we know what our expectations are, but now we need to take the step to become a winning, playoff team."

Regarding the need to step it up this season, Trey Murphy III says, "It was tough watching the playoffs this year. I was in shock after that Thunder game, I never want to feel that way again."

McCollum explains the team realizes their failed mission, and is locked in on the present by their ability to acknowledge that past. The team knows they "need to do things differently, and now it's time to do them."

Zion Williamson: Back in Action

With all the offseason and preseason commotion, all heads point towards all-star Zion Willamson. The whole team—both players, staff, and Zion himself—have reported he is in great shape both mentally and physically.

As Zion said, when something isn't working, the only answer is change. This offseason, Zion persists he has put in the work to make that change.

Zion Williamson, Media Day

"This Summer I've stayed in New Orleans and worked with the Pelicans. I've been working on my movements and locking into every aspect of my body," said Zion.

Griffin had provided some promising insight as to Zion's comeback, insisting that Zion had taken the step to "carry his own, and truly invest in the profession" as teammates McCollum and Ingram do with their own team of nutritionists, trainers, etc. Griffin reports he's seen "a new level of commitment" from Zion, who's made a key focal point on investing in himself.

"Zion definitely had moments where he didn't want to be in the media. No part of him was happy to watch the game from the sidelines. Yet now we're in the moment where we're owning what happened, are being held accountable, and are getting back on the floor to play basketball," says Coach Green. He further stated that when the needs of Zion are met, his talent is unmatched, and that's part of what we'll be seeing this season.

When asked about his goals and preparation for the season, Zion kept it short but sharp. His goal are simply to "win" and his central focus during training was becoming "unguardable."

Injury Concerns

Jose Alvarado and Zion Williamson on Media Day, via New Orleans Pelicans

Another focal point leading into the season is the three injuries existing on the roster. Jose Alvarado and Larry Nance Jr. are both experiencing ankle injuries that should take 2-3 weeks to heal, while Trey Murphy III is recovering from surgery on his left knee and is scheduled to be out for 7-9 more weeks.

On the staffing side, their medical department has ramped up with the addition of Amy Atmore, the Pelicans new director of rehabilitation. This decision was not just enacted by staffing, but also resulted as a direct want from the players according to Griffin.

"The Pels have made many improvements to prevent and react to injuries in the best way possible this season," said Zion.

That fact doesn't come as a shock with last season's overarching issue being injuries—with Zion and Ingram out for a combined 90 games.

Trey Murphy III in 2023-24 Crescent City Jersey

Atmore comes with a wealth of knowledge and "impeccable listening skills", and is currently working with the injured players on recovery. Alvarado and Nance Jr. both report that they are on track to be ready to play by opening night of the regular season.

Murphy III has been working with Atmore and is in week 4 of a successful recovery to date. He reports he is staying positive mentally and is confident in the off-season improvements he has previously made in his overall athleticism.

Murphy III reports no concerns about returning to the team and is on track to return by November, if not, December. Zion reiterated confidence in Murphy III's performance, stating "Trey could be dangerous," upon return.

While we look forward to seeing Murphy III's performance, all ends of staffing report they've seen many newer players step up to the challenge this offseason. This includes talent such as sophomore Dyson Daniels, rookie Jordan Hawkins, and Cody Zeller, who has "been a seamless fit into the team, and can be an easy plug in as a starter" via Coach Green. Not only have the players stepped up their game on the court, but Coach Green reports tremendous growth in locker room leadership from McCollum, E.J. Lidell, and a more vocal Zion.

More to come for the New Orleans Pelicans

While Media Day was a phenomenal start, the New Orleans Pelicans have a whole season ahead of them and we'll be there every step of the way. Don't miss a beat as we will provide updates, and plenty more games and players content this season. If you are as excited as us about this season, check out the schedule and maybe even catch a game at the Smoothie King Center. Regardless of how you're tuning in, we can't wait to cheer our New Orleans Pelicans on this season with you all. Go Pels, Go!

CJ McCollum, via New Orleans Pelicans Facebook
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