- NBA Championships: 0
- Last NBA Championship: N/A
- Claim to Fame: New Orleans is the only franchise to survive Byron Scott and a hurricane. We’ll let you decide which was worse.
- Claim to Shame: New Orleans traded future Hall of Famer Chris Paul in his prime for what amounts to spare parts.
Few franchises have bounced around more than the Pelicans, who sprung into existence as the Charlotte Hornets in 1988 and briefly spent time in Oklahoma City for two seasons after Louisiana was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
The Pelicans returned to the Big Easy for good in 2007 and proceeded to have their best season in franchise history, winning 56 games and advancing to the Western Conference Semifinals. That squad was led by All-Stars Chris Paul, David West, and Peja Stojakovic, and featured Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler in the middle.
Paul later forced his way out of New Orleans in 2011, and the team struggled to remain competitive, winning fewer than 30 games in back-to-back seasons.
Those poor finishes weren’t a total waste, however, as they allowed the Pelicans to land the #1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and the team wisely selected Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis. The long-limbed pivot has since averaged 23.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game in six seasons in NOLA, and has led the Pelicans to the postseason twice.
Davis was particularly spectacular in 2017-18, pouring in 28.1 points per game and finishing third in MVP and Defensive Player of the Year balloting. He’ll be joined in New Orleans this season by Julius Randle, who had 28 double-doubles for the Lakers, and Elfrid Payton, who experienced a career renaissance last year after being traded to the Suns. The team can also look forward to the continued development of sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic, who recorded ten 20-point games after coming over from the Bulls on February 1st.
Returning to the playoffs in the loaded Western Conference won’t be easy, but Davis appears to have the help he needs to lead the Pelicans to new heights.