Behind the Numbers presented by HUB International: Raptors at Pelicans preseason (10/11/18)

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

A look at three key numbers related to Thursday’s preseason game at the Smoothie King Center between Toronto and New Orleans (7 p.m. Central, WRNO 99.5 FM, streaming live on Pelicans.com):

115.38: NBA-leading pace for New Orleans in preseason (the number represents number of possessions per 48 minutes). Based on four exhibition games at least, there seems to be no slowing down for the Pelicans compared to last season, when they played fast throughout the 82-game schedule, but ramped up that approach considerably in the final few months. Newcomers such as Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton have looked comfortable so far while constantly running and pushing the ball.

22: New Orleans rank among the 30 NBA teams in turnover percentage (18.0). Alvin Gentry and Pelicans players have expressed concern about a high number of turnovers in each of their four games, but in fairness, the tally skews higher due to playing more possessions than every other NBA team. A chunk of the offensive mistakes have come from miscommunication or not correctly anticipating what a teammate is about to do, things that should improve with better cohesiveness and more time on the court together.

1,395: The Pelicans and Raptors both played a game in another city Wednesday, but New Orleans had a much more favorable itinerary, making a relatively short flight home from Miami. On the other hand, Toronto played in Montreal, Quebec, which is 1,395 miles north of New Orleans. It’s uncertain how that will impact which players and lineups are used by the Raptors, who are playing their preseason finale. Kawhi Leonard logged 31 minutes vs. Brooklyn last night, while the club’s other starters all played between 20 and 27 minutes.