The New Orleans Pelicans are currently first in the Western Conference with an 18-9 record.
They are getting it done on offense and defense.
The Pelicans are fifth in offensive rating and third in defensive rating in the league.
They have the best defensive rating out of any team in the Western Conference.
This is all done despite Zion Williamson missing five games, CJ McCollum missing four games, and Brandon Ingram missing 12 games this season.
Below, we will discuss whether New Orleans will finish first in the Western Conference and if they can contend for the NBA Championship.
Will New Orleans Finish First In the Western Conference?
Currently, the Pelicans are tied for first in the Western Conference along with the Memphis Grizzlies, with an 18-9 record.
However, unlike Memphis, New Orleans is top five in the league in both offensive and defensive ratings.
Zion is looking like the player everyone expected him to be. He is averaging 25.0 points per game, 7.3 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists per game, and 1.3 steals per game.
C.J. McCollum is having a down season, despite the Pelicans being first in the West. His 17.3 points per game are significantly lower than his average points per game since the 2015 season.
McCollum has averaged between 20-23.1 points per game since the 2015 season. He will start heating up offensively, which will make New Orleans even better.
Ingram is averaging 20.8 points per game, 5.1 rebounds per game, and 4.7 assists per game. He has missed 12 games already this season and when he gets healthy, New Orleans will have a strong trio.
New Orleans is top 10 in bench points per game.
Despite being tied for first in the Western Conference, BetOnline has New Orleans listed with the fourth-best odds (+650) to finish first in the West.
Given the fact the Pelicans are top five in offensive and defensive ratings and they have done this despite not being fully healthy, New Orleans is a serious contender to finish first in the West.
Can The New Orleans Pelicans Contend For The NBA Title?
New Orleans has played over 30% of their games this season and they are tied for first in the West.
They are the only team in the league to be top five in both offensive and defensive ratings.
The Pelicans have a very good trio in Williamson, McCollum, and Ingram when they are all healthy.
The bench is also good for the Pelicans, as they rank top 10 in bench points per game.
BetOnline lists the Pelicans with the sixth-best odds (+1200) to win the NBA Championship.
Given how the rest of the Western Conference looks, there is no team that stands above all. Whereas in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks look like the clear top two teams.
When healthy, New Orleans has a trio that can compete with any team.
Given the Pelicans are top five in both offensive and defensive ratings, New Orleans has an excellent chance to make it out of the West and contend for the NBA Championship.