“You’re Not Punking the New Orleans Pelicans Ever”: Stan Van Gundy Sends a Word of Caution to NBA Rivals

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December 1, 2020 4:00 pm

The New Orleans Pelicans made valuable additions to their roster during the 2020 offseason. They received big-man Steven Adams from OKC as part of the Jrue Holiday trade. Adams’ arrival makes things more exciting at NOLA and everyone is eager to watch him team up with Zion Williamson.

Next season, it will be a nightmare for any team to go out and face the Pelicans. Zion and Adams are two of the most physical players in the league, and one can only imagine them setting up screens! 

Coach Stan Van Gundy is a happy man entering his first year with the Pelicans. “Find me a 4 and 5 together anywhere in the league that’s as physical as those two guys,” he said about Williamson and Adams. Their combined strength will make it hard on opponents to come out and score against the Pelicans. However, the duo needs to gain chemistry in order to terrorize their rivals, but Van Gundy is extremely optimistic. 

OKLAHOMA CITY, USA – OCTOBER 9: Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in action during the fourth quarter of a NBA preseason game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on October 9, 2015 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Bilgin S. Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Gundy said, “When we made that trade, I said, ‘Look, the one thing I know for sure: you might come in here and shoot the ball great. You might find a way to beat us. You’re not punking the New Orleans Pelicans ever with those two guys next to each other.”

There is tremendous delight running through the Pelicans organization about the upcoming season. They’ve retained Brandon Ingram as well, and the roster looks determined and truly competitive.

Also Read: “Absolutely Asinine” – NBA Analysts SLAM New Orleans Pelicans for Pairing Steven Adams with Zion Williamson

What the New Orleans Pelicans need to improve ahead of the NBA’s 75th season

The Pelicans finished 13th in the Western Conference in 2020. A last-place division finish added to the team’s woes, and they sacked coach Alvin Gentry following the season’s conclusion. Newly appointed HC Stan Van Gundy reflected on a few areas for improvement recently. 

“We can’t be giving up easy buckets in transition,” mentioned Van Gundy. “No. 2 is we’ve got to keep the ball out of the paint. We gave up 52 points a game in the paint last year.” 

The second point about the paint scoring will change with Adams coming in. He’s an excellent shot-stopper and will protect the paint at all costs. Van Gundy then added foul miseries as an aspect that needs improvement. 

The Pelicans almost gifted 25 FT attempts per game in 2020, and that calls for a change. The final area is defensive rebounding, and Van Gundy is ensuring he’s putting in extra effort in these areas. 

NOLA is one of the brightest teams in the upcoming season. Zion can cause major problems if he’s injury-free, and Brandon Ingram has taken the leap. How far will they go in 2021?

Also Read: New Orleans Pelicans 2021 Roster: What the Team Looks Like After All Trades and Free Agency Signings

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