Where do Pelicans go from here? Success and failure becomes much simpler to define

In November, David Griffin kept it vague when asked about realistic expectations for the upcoming season.

“We believe we’ve got a group that can be competing for a playoff position,” Griffin said. “At the same time, our goal is to compete in meaningful games.”

Translation: This wasn’t a playoffs-or-bust campaign. With the number of new variables he had to account for, it was understandable Griffin avoided answering with an absolute. He had a new head coach, two new starters, an abbreviated training camp and a compressed regular season that would allow for little practice time.

The Pelicans were officially eliminated from playoff contention Wednesday. Despite having one of their best seasons health-wise in years, they couldn’t make the play-in tournament as a top-10 team in the West. There’s an argument to be made that they played in meaningful games, but it is fairly flimsy.

So was this season a failure or a success? A case can easily be made for both.

Last summer, the Pelicans flopped inside the bubble, so the front office responded by trying to stock the roster with “elite competitors.” Betting on ruggedness when the game is increasingly becoming about perimeter skill was a miscalculation. As the season nears its conclusion, the Pelicans have made the fourth-fewest 3-pointers per game (10.6) while allowing the second-most (14.5). They have gotten outscored by an average of 11.7 points per game from behind the arc, too big a gap to…

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