The Pelicans Are Spiraling, But At Least Julius Randle Is Kicking A*s

In last night’s loss to the Thunder, Randle had a perfect 10-for-10 night from the field to lead the team with 26 points and make a very particular sort of history. Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic struggled from the field, but Randle got everything he wanted against Patrick Patterson and whoever else the Thunder threw at him. The convenient thing about playing alongside Davis is that Randle will draw lesser defenders, and he’s usually able to prey on some sort of athletic advantage to get to the rim. Randle has always been an elite athlete, but now he knows where to stand and he’s been allowed to scream towards the rack whenever he can, so he’s thriving.

His team, unfortunately, is not. The Pelicans have lost six straight, all against teams they’ll probably be competing for playoff spots against, with the last five on the road. Over that stretch, they’re allowing 123.7 points per game. The point here is not that the Pelicans are suddenly trash, it’s that the Western Conference is brutally difficult and that New Orleans doesn’t have the depth to survive an arduous road trip with Elfrid Payton out (what a weird clause) and Anthony Davis dinged up. The only truly consistent cogs on their team are Holiday, Mirotic, and Randle. They have their share of problems, yes, but at least New Orleans can count on Randle to bully people every night out.