The New Orleans Pelicans, formerly known as the New Orleans Hornets, have had a tumultuous journey since their inception in 2002. From being forced to relocate due to Hurricane Katrina to building a brand new team around superstar Anthony Davis, the Pelicans have been through a lot. Now, with new ownership and a promising young core, the team looks towards rebirth and even possibly a revelation in the near future.
The Pelicans were originally established in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1988 as the Charlotte Hornets. In 2002, the team moved to New Orleans and was named the New Orleans Hornets. The team was a reasonable success out of the gate, with players like Baron Davis and Jamaal Magloire leading them to the playoffs.
Everything changed in 2005 with the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. With the city devastated, the Hornets were forced to temporarily relocate to Oklahoma City for two seasons. Despite a promising start in New Orleans, the team struggled after the move and ultimately missed the playoffs both seasons. The team then returned to New Orleans for the 2007-2008 season, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they had substantial success again, when they made it to the playoffs with Chris Paul leading the way.
Fast forward to 2012, when the team welcomed the first overall pick in the draft, Anthony Davis. The Pelicans, as they now were, were building a promising young core of players around Davis, including Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson. However, injuries plagued the team and they struggled to find any real success.
In 2019, the Pelicans were bought by new ownership, led by Gayle Benson, the widow of former Saints owner Tom Benson. The team underwent a rebranding, dropping the “New Orleans” from their name and donning new colors and logos.
This new ownership also provided a fresh start for the team, as they began to build around a new core of players including Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball. However, their journey has not been without its struggles. Despite having a roster filled with talent, the Pelicans have continued to have injury problems and have struggled to find consistency and success on the court.
That being said, the Pelicans have shown promise. Zion Williamson has proven to be a potential superstar, with his breathtaking athleticism and scoring ability. Brandon Ingram has shown that he can be a go-to scorer, and Lonzo Ball has proven to be a solid all-around guard.
With the right coaching and development, the Pelicans have the potential to become a force in the NBA once again. They have the talent and the support of a passionate city behind them, and with the right moves, they could go from a team of potential to a team of fruition. It may not happen overnight, but the journey is just beginning for the New Orleans Pelicans.