- The New Orleans Pelicans are close to a deal to acquire CJ McCollum, Larry Nance and Tony Snell from the Portland Trail Blazers
- Portland will receive Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky and draft compensation from the Pels
- How does this impact the playoff race in the Western Conference?
A 5-17 start to the regular season looked to have left the Pelicans in tank mode. It’s all turned around of late, however, with a 5-4 run and a CJ McCollum trade. New Orleans has looked like a seller all season, but with a war chest of draft picks, they swung for the fences and acquired McCollum in exchange for draft compensation, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart and Tomas Satoransky.
The Pelicans’ NBA Playoff odds have slipped dramatically since opening night and were recently +1600. Yet, with the team in a Play-In spot on February 8th, they are poised to make a late push.
Once odds are reposted when this trade goes official, we will likely see the Pelicans odds to make the playoffs shorten to a significantly different price.
Current Western Conference Standings
The Pelicans are 10th in the West, one ahead of the Blazers in the loss column. With Dame Lillard most likely out for the season, and with Norm Powell and Robert Covington in Los Angeles, the Blazers are set to slide down the standings in the coming weeks. San Antonio and Sacramento – two and three losses behind New Orleans, respectively – still harbor postseason ambitions, but they are outsiders at this point.
Reaching the Play-In is the bare minimum for the Pels from here. McCollum provides further scoring punch alongside the impressive play of Brandon Ingram – they are ninth in net rating over the last nine games with Ingram playing great basketball as a scorer and facilitator.
Portland is finalizing acquiring Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Tomas Satoransky and draft compensation in the CJ McCollum trade, sources said. https://t.co/or5Ay22rZ3
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2022
McCollum eases some of the playmaking workload for Ingram, and provides efficient scoring and spacing. He should seamlessly slot into the backcourt alongside Devonte’ Graham.
Printable Super Bowl 56 Props Sheet
Will Zion Williamson Play This Season?
Updates on Zion Williamson’s condition have been sporadic and generally negative. Early in January, it was reported that the former first overall pick would continue his foot rehab away from the team, and little has been heard since.
The Pelicans were 5.6 points better per 100 possessions with Williamson on the floor last season. It’s unclear if he will be able to return this season, but if he can get healthy over the next few weeks, New Orleans becomes a very dangerous team to matchup with in the Play-In.
A Graham, McCollum, Ingram, Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas lineup would be explosive on offense – the Pels are 25th in offensive rating for the season, behind the Knicks and Wizards. New Orleans would also have the option to play big with Larry Nance slotting into that group ahead of Graham.
Are the Pels Worth Betting to Make the Playoffs?
The Pelicans have raised their floor with this move. McCollum alongside Ingram should be a potent offense, and it provides a margin for error if/when Ingram misses games. While they are evidently a better team even with Josh Hart departing, they still face an uphill battle to make the postseason unless Williamson returns.
New Orleans should make the Play-In. Going any further is a different question altogether. The Timberwolves, Clippers and Lakers are the other Play-In teams as it stands, and the Pelicans are unlikely to bridge the gap to get higher than 10th.
That leaves them needing to win two road games to earn a place in the first round. Beating a depleted Clippers team is certainly possible even without Williamson, but they will be underdogs against the Lakers or Timberwolves. The same goes for Dallas and Denver, who currently occupy fifth and sixth.
There’s no question the Pelicans have got better with this trade. Nance’s arrival should compensate for losing Hart. Until there’s concrete news on Williamson, though, it’s impossible to have any confidence in them to make it to the playoffs.
The post Pelicans Odds to Make Playoffs Improve After Trading for CJ McCollum From Blazers appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.