The New Orleans Pelicans have had a remarkable season. Injuries, inexperience, and difficult early schedule all led to them falling out of the playoff race in February. Despite these challenges they found a way to be competitive by relying on their team defense which has allowed them to win games despite having an elite offense only three times this year (last time was Sunday when Zion Williamson missed 17-of-27 shots).

The “New Orleans Pelicans Don’t Have Superstar Zion Williamson, But They Have Salvaged Their Season and Become an NBA Feel-Good Story.” The New Orleans Pelicans have been playing well despite not having their superstar. They are now in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. Read more in detail here: pelicans nba.

The New Orleans Pelicans Don't Have Superstar Zion Williamson, But They Have Salvaged Their Season and Become an NBA Feel-Good Story

The New Orleans Pelicans were mostly written off before the NBA calendar even reached the second week of November, with superstar forward Zion Williamson out with a foot ailment that won’t heal completely and a disastrous 1-12 start to the season.

The Pelicans then had a weird thing happen: they continued listening to rookie head coach Willie Green’s optimistic pep speeches, starting distributing the ball better, and put together a dramatic comeback to rescue their season.

Sure, the Saints’ 13-22 record isn’t exactly deserving of a procession down Bourbon Street, particularly with Williamson still out and not likely to return anytime soon. When you consider that the Pelicans have gone 12-10 since that disastrous start to the season, it says much about the team’s tenacity and underappreciated potential.

The Pelicans have swiftly established themselves as one of the top feel-good stories in the NBA after yet another spectacular comeback triumph.

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Look no farther than the New Orleans Pelicans’ most recent on-court performance to get a flavor of what they’re up to these days. The Pelicans slipped into an almost unfathomable 23-point deficit in the first quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers, while playing without burgeoning star Brandon Ingram and do-it-all guard Josh Hart.

The Pelicans, like their terrible start to the season, refused to give up. New Orleans rallied for a 108-104 victory against the Cavaliers, thanks to a career-high 26 points from Herb Jones and a flurry of four clutch 3-pointers by Garrett Temple. According to ESPN, the comeback triumph from a 23-point deficit was the second-largest in team history.

“I’m really proud of this team. Green remarked in his postgame press conference on Tuesday, “The effort, the camaraderie of being down by 23 and working our way back into it and coming out with a victory was tremendous.” “The character with this group is amazing….” I’m proud of them; we stuck it out, and now it’s on to the next guy. We go into games feeling that if we take care of the basketball and share it, we can give ourselves a chance.”

Willie Green has developed into an exceptional coach on the sidelines with the Pelicans, despite being referred to be a “coach on the court.”

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Green’s coaches during his 12-year NBA journeyman career always assumed he’d wind up as a coach, even if he didn’t always realize it. Green was surrounded by 19- and 20-year-old youngsters during his last season as a player in Orlando in 2014-15, and he ended up doing as much mentoring as he did playing.

Green recounted last week in an Orlando pregame press conference, “I was (in Orlando) at a time when we had a pretty young club, and I found myself helping out wherever I could, and it led to a chance to coach.” “I consider myself fortunate and appreciative for the opportunity.”

Steve Kerr selected Green to assume a player development position on his Golden State coaching staff as soon as he retired as a player. Green departed that position after three years to work as an assistant coach for Monty Williams in Phoenix, where he helped build a youthful group into one that reached the NBA Finals this past July.

DeVonte Graham, who is averaging 14 points per game and three 3-pointers each night, stated, “The greatest thing on our team right now is confidence, and that has a lot to do with Coach Green and him not getting down on individuals.” “With that 1-12 start, a lot of coaches would have panicked, and we might have gone left and stopped believing each other.” But he never stopped encouraging us.

“Every day we’d come in, the gym would be packed with people, and he’d say, ‘Stick together, it’s going to turn around!’ Now we’re aware of it and want to continue.”

The New Orleans Pelicans still have enough of firepower in Ingram, Valanciunas, and Hart even without Zion Williamson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn3 mTr4zLo

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The Pelicans have the closest thing in the NBA to superstar forward Kevin Durant in sweet-shooting forward Brandon Ingram, apart from the real deal in Brooklyn.

Even against the toughest wing defenders, Ingram can get off just about any shot he wants at 6-foot-9. That’s one of the reasons he’s averaging 22.9 points per game, including many 30-point performances.

“B.I. does what B.I. does,” said Hart, who has played with Ingram for the Lakers and Pelicans over the previous five seasons. “I’m not surprised by anything he accomplishes because he’s always been this kind of player — even back in L.A. He was an All-Star two years ago, he should have been an All-Star last year, and I believe he should be one again this year.”

Valanciunas, who averages 18.5 points and 12 rebounds per game, might be an all-star candidate as well. His toughness has helped the Pelicans cope with the departure of Williamson, who enthralled NBA fans by averaging 27 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season.

During his stop-and-start NBA career, the 21-year-old Williamson has already missed more games than he has played in. Williams, who weighs 284 pounds, had an injection in his foot in mid-December to encourage bone mending, and the expectation is that he will be ready to return to play after the NBA All-Star Game.

Williamson’s comeback isn’t something the Pelicans are waiting for. They know they are far from dead after performing so brilliantly over the last six weeks to recover from a catastrophic start.

ESPN.com provided the statistics.

RELATED: Trade Rumors Should Scare New Orleans’ Superstar Zion Williamson

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