New Orleans Pelicans entering make-or-break portion of season

By David Kenyon

The New Orleans Pelicans bandwagon welcomed thousands of new members over the offseason, but injuries have decimated the team during the opening three weeks of the 2015-16 NBA campaign.

No team has a worse record than the 1-10 mark for New Orleans, which lost six consecutive games to open the year and are about to enter one a tremendously brutal upcoming schedule.

Worst of all, though, 22-year-old star forward Anthony Davis could be limited for a while. He exited Tuesday’s matchup against the Denver Nuggets due to a shoulder injury.

John Reid of NOLA.com reported Davis traveled with the team, but his status is unclear for Wednesday when the Pelicans take on the Oklahoma City Thunder. OKC is the first opponent of a potentially devastating 12-game stretch.

After the nationally televised tilt, New Orleans returns home after playing five of the last six outings on the road. The team’s reward? Try the San Antonio Spurs.

Following the pair of meetings with Western Conference contenders, the Pelicans have two matchups with the upstart Phoenix Suns and a road back-to-back against the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz.

Then, there’s the Memphis Grizzlies, Houston Rockets, Cleveland Cavaliers followed by probable-playoff-bound teams in the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls.

Six of those 12 matchups are on national television, which originally seemed fantastic. This stretch was supposed to be Davis’ time to cement his superstar status. Considering the injuries on the New Orleans roster, NBA fans might be scared to watch the Pelicans so many times.

Tyreke Evans, Norris Cole, Quincy Pondexter and Kendrick Perkins are sidelined for an extended period of action. Omer Asik has battled various ailments early on. Jrue Holiday is on a minutes restriction.

If Davis cannot return to full strength over the next 24 days, the Pelicans probably won’t be any better than 5-18. There’s almost zero realistic chance to overcome that mark and reach the Western Conference playoffs.

Although it’s only been three weeks, a bevy of injuries and tough schedule mean New Orleans is remarkably close to reaching a panic-worthy point of the season.