With the NBA gearing up for the continuation of its paused season this July at Walt Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, many New Orleans fans are excited to see their team take to the court after big wins in the last two games before the season was suspended.
An article on pelicandebrief.com reports that the New Orleans Pelicans have a shot in Orlando at landing the eighth seed of the Western Conference currently occupied by Memphis. But to do so, they will have to jump ahead of Portland and simultaneously fend off Sacramento and San Antonio.
When the league decided to defer its ongoing games, the Pelicans were three-and-a-half games behind Memphis and had a relatively easy remaining schedule. Some have argued that the Pelicans' road to the playoffs is much more challenging than their original season, while others claim that the league favored Zion Williamson in delivering one of the easiest upcoming eight-game schedules on paper.
According to NOLA.com, each team will enter the seeding tournament 0-0, and the first through seventh seeds will advance to the playoffs. If the eighth and ninth seeds are within four games of each other, the two will have to compete in a play-in series to determine who will move forward. Because each team has not played the same number of games, seeds will be determined by winning percentage.
There are a multitude of scenarios that can play out in the eight games, but many experts agree that what could keep the Pelicans from their playoff potential is if the Grizzlies perform better in their eight games, albeit on a notably much more difficult schedule. If a play-in series is forced, New Orleans will have to beat Memphis in two back-to-back games to secure the eighth seed and, consequently, a spot in the playoffs.
So, for now, New Orleans fans should hope that the Pelicans win a majority of their games and that the Grizzlies lose more than half of their matchups.
This coincides with a recent news report from espn.com that confirmed three unknown members of the Pelicans have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and are isolating to prevent further spread, with still more NBA players opting to sit out the Orlando games.
The Pelicans' players were tested upon return to facilities last week and are among 16 players of the 22 competing teams to test positive. Executive vice president of the New Orleans Pelicans' basketball operations, David Griffin, said, "The league had a system in place that was designed to catch these cases. The system worked, and we're going to deal with it the best we can moving forward."