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Time to lose: Play Austin Rivers?

Minus Jrue Holiday and likely out of playoff race, here's how Pelicans tank

Updated: January 13, 2014, 12:22 PM ET
By Amin Elhassan | ESPN Insider

Jrue Holiday is out indefinitely with a stress fracture to his tibia, and a New Orleans Pelicans season that was already in turmoil with the injury to Ryan Anderson seems destined for disaster. The Pelicans are 15-21 and have lost five straight and 11 of their past 15 games, increasingly turning what was supposed to be a playoff march into a funeral procession.

So what is the impact of Holiday's injury and what can (or can't) New Orleans do moving forward to improve? Here's an FAQ to help navigate the Pelicans' predicament.

What's so bad about missing the playoffs this season?

New Orleans owes its 2014 first-round pick to the 76ers as part of the trade that brought Holiday to the Pelicans. With a 2014 draft class that is expected to be deep on game-changing prospects, New Orleans will effectively have lost the "bet" that Philadelphia made on draft day: that the Pelicans, despite their efforts, still aren't one of the top eight teams in the Western Conference.

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