New Orleans Pelicans players to watch
The players to watch on the Pelicans are Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. I almost included Jonas Valancunas, a criminally underrated player, but his game doesn’t offer quite as much excitement. Although, he could very easily be the best player on the court tonight.
The Pelicans’ ceiling is tied to the heights that Zion Williamson can reach. The first overall pick in the 2019 draft has been magnificent when on the court. In 95 career games, he has averaged 25.5 points on 59.8% shooting, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. After missing all of the 2021-22 season with a foot injury, Williamson came into camp leaner, but he hasn’t exactly been meaner this season.
Williamson is only averaging 23.3 points per game on 54.8% shooting, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. His ability to get shots near the rim is somewhat diminished from when he was last healthy but remains elite, and his ability to finish around the rim has also suffered. Williamson will likely continue to improve as the season progresses, and the Rockets' porous rim protection could allow him to feast.
Brandon Ingram is the type of player that breaks your defense’s heart. He rarely uses speed or strength to create easy looks, instead, he uses his length to hit shots that you swear were well-defended. His combination of length and skill has allowed him to average 23.4 points per game on 50.3% 2-point shooting and 37.7% 3-point shooting over the past four seasons.
Ingram’s shooting volume is down a bit this season, he was removed early in a game with a concussion, but he has been on absolute fire from 3-point range, shooting 53.6% on 3.5 attempts per game. It would be wise for Ingram to explore the outer limits of his 3-point volume, but that’s not where his bread is buttered.
Even though the midrange jumper has gone out of vogue league-wide, Ingram has gone the other way. Ingram is taking a career-high 34.4% of his shots 10 to 16 feet from the rim and converting them at a 52.3% clip. The combination of volume and efficiency makes it a worthwhile shot for the Pelicans' offense.