When the NBA suspended its season, the New Orleans Pelicans were tied for 10th in the Western Conference at 28-36. The Memphis Grizzlies hold the eighth seed 3.5 games ahead of the Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings.
The NBA has discussed a scenario where the top-20 teams in the entire league regardless of conference play in a Group Stage style first round. The Pelicans would be included in this scenario.
"Let me just say how do you get to 20 though?" said Brian Windhorst. "Because if you just go by the straight records, because to me, this is what I've already heard, alright. I've already heard people in this league say this is an elaborate game to get Zion Williamson into this bubble."
Williamson missed the first part of the season and has been a boon for the Pelicans on the court and for the NBA in terms of ratings.
"I'll tell you one thing: that scenario gets Zion Williamson in," added Windhorst. "Look, I've just heard... I'm not saying the NBA is going this route, I'm just saying I've already heard this scenario that no matter what happens, the cutoff line will be the Pelicans. They'll be in. It will be the first time in the history of the NBA that the league kicked the ball into the fairway for New Orleans."
"Other than vetoing the CP3 to the Lakers' trade," replied Tim MacMahon.
FiveThirtyEight gave the Pelicans a 60 percent chance of reaching the playoffs when the season suspended due in part to their easier schedule.