Looking back at the first ever championship season in New Orleans.
A little over a week has passed since the Pelicans were able to claim a very surprising win in the NBA playoffs and GM Patrik Lövberg had this to say when recapping the season:
“Our ambition was to make the playoffs and improve on last year’s first round exit and it felt like that was a realistic approach looking at the results and play we were displaying throughout the regular season. We were very uneven in our results but in the same time we felt that with a healthy team and a good day we can beat anyone in this league”
The fact that the team was spared from injuries during the playoffs is something Lövberg is pointing out as a key factor:
“Well yes, like I said we felt going in to the playoff that we can beat anyone but during regular season when we had injuries on any of our starting-5 we suffered bad streaks so we knew we were dependent on them staying healthy. But we also knew that they probably had to log even more minutes in the playoffs if we were to make a serious attempt to win it all and I´m really impressed by the stamina and dedication they displayed especially in the playoffs”
Even though this is a team effort one cannot look at the NBA 16/17 season without mentioning the remarkable play from regular and playoff MVP, Anthony Davis.
“He has been absolutely outstanding and is the main reason the O´Brien trophy has landed here in New Orleans. Just the fact that he has been the man of the match for all of our wins except one in the playoffs says it all and with a player like that on your team you always have the chance to win a basketball game”
So looking in to the future and especially next season, what do you have to do to protect the title?
“There are a lot of teams in this league with the potential to win which this year clearly displayed and I´m sure some of the contenders will make moves to become even stronger so we are always looking for options to improve but first of all we need to see what we can do in order to sign new contracts with Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evens. Then we are aiming to address our depth and dependent on what happens in the market and free agents we will probably make some moves”
There is obviously some questions and concerns to be dealt with for New Orleans going in to next season; What happens if any of or both Holiday/Evens don’t resign? How can the team cope with the pressure of being defending champions? Can Davis continue on the same level?
“Well right now we are all just enjoying the time off and this win and for me it´s important that the players and everyone involved in the club really take in what we have achieved here. I mean what better fuel and motivation than this feeling can there be to push yourself in the future?”