Golden State at New Orleans
Time: 7 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: NO -5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors have begun 0-2, but the New Orleans Pelicans host the game as an 0-3 team that is 5-point favorites over the Warriors in NBA odds at bookmaker 5dimes. The game will air on NBA TV at 7 PM (CST) and has an over/under set at 211 points.
Golden State is not the vaunted four-star team it has been in the past. Klay Thompson is out injured; Kevin Durant is gone. Stephen Curry has tried to carry the load without that duo, and he does have D’Angelo Russell to help with that, but the Warriors are clearly not the team it has been over its now-concluded dynasty. The defense, especially, is nothing resemblant of what this team did during its title runs. The Warriors ranks No. 29 in the league in three-point percentage at just 26.7 percent, and it is in the bottom-third of offenses at just 107 points per game. Golden State is dead-last in field goal percentage at 36.1 percent.
So far, D’Angelo Russell has shot just 34.6 percent from the floor. Perhaps the most pleasant surprises for the Warriors have been rookie Eric Paschall, and the reclamation effort that is Marquese Chriss. Paschall averaged 27 minutes over the first two games while shooting 52 percent from the floor on 12 points, 3.5 rebounds, and two assists per game. Chriss averaged nine points and two boards in 18 minutes per game.
The Warriors still need a workable solution at the 3-spot, where Glenn Robinson III has been below replacement level at just 35.3 percent shooting and eight points and 5.5 rebounds per game. The Warriors eventually may slide Thompson in at the 3-spot, but that solution looks to be looming far in the future. Jacob Evans III could provide some punch, and he has averaged nine points per game while hitting 50 percent from behind the arc.
New Orleans has looked reasonably good for an 0-3 team. The Pelicans rank No. 8 in three-point percentage at 38.2, and it is the sixth-best offense at 120 points per game. New Orleans lost 122-130 to Toronto opening night, then lost to both Dallas and Houston.
Those three opponents are all arguably playoff teams, so the Pelicans have managed to lose by eight, seven, and three, to relatively good opponents. Golden State thus far has not been a good team, and to see the home team in New Orleans as 5-point favorites are both appropriate and unsurprising. The Pelicans are a very strong team at the 1/2/3 spots, where it starts Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, and Brandon Ingram.
All three can defend interchangeably and share in the team’s playmaking responsibilities. Ingram has starred as the No. 1 option offensively thus far, and he looks well-suited for that role. Probably even after Zion Williamson returns to the starting lineup, this will be a team whose identity is built in the backcourt and on the wings. Williamson could be the rookie to complete this lineup, which is still good enough that it has not even had to rely on rookie Jaxson Hayes yet.
Ingram is playing 35 minutes per night and shooting 52.5 percent from the floor while averaging 27.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. Legitimately, he may finally be a superstar in New Orleans. Josh Hart has been important off the bench for New Orleans, and he is averaging 18 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game while shooting 40.9 percent from three. The Pelicans are hoping for more from Derrick Favors whose 8.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game leave some to be desired, and Jahlil Okafor has only been valuable as a spot scorer given his defensive shortcomings.
The Pelicans are a team heavily-reliant on its starting backcourt, with Holiday seeing 37 minutes per night and producing 10.5 points, four rebounds, and seven assists while shooting just 30 percent from the floor thus far. Holiday will pick it up, and the Pelicans have looked surprisingly good for a team that has yet to win. It will try to get into the victory column against the struggling Warriors tonight.