Could the Pelicans Make a Playoff Run?

Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans have dismantled the Portland Trail Blazers in the playoffs this year.

Rajon Rondo has been balling out of his mind, Jrue Holiday has Damian Lillard in a body bag on damn near every single possession, and Nikola Mirotic is lights out from three all of a sudden. All of this, while AD does what AD does best, completely dominates on each end of the court. New Orleans has just looked unstoppable up to this point.

As they currently sit up on Portland three games to none, NO has to be thinking about the possibility of facing Golden State in the next round. I know I’m thinking about it. And honestly, as good as the Warriors are, I think New Orleans could wind up matching up with them pretty well. Next to Houston, the Pelicans are the biggest threat to de-throning the Warriors out West in my eyes. That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen right now, but I guess what I’m saying is we can’t rule it out. Let’s compare starting lineups:

Rajon Rondo vs. Steph Curry/Quinn Cook
Right now, nobody knows when Steph Curry is going to make his return to the Warriors lineup. He was supposed to be back for the start of the second round, but that’s still up in the air according to recent reports. Quinn Cook has been great for the Warriors this year in the starting role, but I’m going to give the edge to Rondo here. Rondo always steps it up in the playoffs, and he’s been proving that so far this post-season.

Jrue Holiday vs. Klay Thompson
I’m going to go with Klay, but I really think this matchup could go either way. Jrue Holiday is wildly underrated as a defender. He has a real shot at making an All-Defense team this year. What he’s done against Damian Lillard in the first round is making it really hard for me to go against him, but Klay Thompson is that good, and he’s just as good of a defender in his own right. If Holiday could keep it up against Thompson then who knows how this could wind up going, but I still say Klay takes the cake here.

Solomon Hill vs. Kevin Durant
Lol. Next.

Nikola Mirotic vs. Draymond Green
Mirotic probably saved the Pelicans season, so that says a lot about how well he’s been playing for New Orleans. But Draymond Green is still coming off a DPOY, we all know how great of a defender that guy is. He’s just downright frustrating to play against. I’m sure Mirotic’s hot hand is going to fade eventually, so I’m going with Draymond here.

Anthony Davis vs. Whoever Golden State throws at him
This right here is a problem. Steve Kerr is going to have nightmares trying to figure this one out, because Anthony Davis has been an absolute freak this year, per usual. In the playoffs especially, he’s stepped his game up big time. The Pelicans may have a problem containing Kevin Durant, but I think Golden State will have a much harder time handling AD. They don’t have anyone that can even stay close to that guy. He’s a monster.

The Pelicans ultimately go as far as AD will take them. Do I think they will beat the Warriors this year? No. That’s a god damn super team, they’ve earned that. But we saw LeBron carry the Cavs on his back to the Finals at a very young age, and that Cavs team sucked. I don’t think it will happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we wound up seeing the same thing with Davis here. He’s just starting to realize how good he could be. I think he’s next man up as far as taking over the NBA goes. It’s going to be his league soon. I would be terrified if I were the rest of the NBA, because New Orleans is coming. If not this year, then definitely next, and many more years to come.

-Nick Cherico (@NickCherico2)

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