New Orleans Pelicans: Takeaways from Zion Williamson’s debut

NBA New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NBA New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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NBA New Orleans Pelicans
NBA New Orleans Pelicans Brandon Ingram (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Zion/Ingram duo should work

An honest worry after the Pelicans selected Zion in the 2019 NBA draft, and after they went and traded Anthony Davis for Brandon Ingram (and company), as if New Orleans had the right personnel around their new rookie, more specifically talking about his fit alongside Ingram.

Nobody saw the Most Improved Player award-contending growth Ingram was going to show, to be fair. Even with that, some might not consider him to be the perfect partner to Zion, but last night assured how it should work.

Two key points lie in the two key skills from both Zion and Ingram that weren’t talked about much in the past: Zion’s passing ability and Ingram’s newfound shooting ability.

Zion displayed on numerous occasions last night that he can dish it out very well. His nicest play might’ve been when he got doubled while posting up, remained calm, and found a cutting Ingram for a smooth lay-in bucket. Ingram ranks in the top-5 percent on all assisted shots this season (per Cleaning the Glass); more plays like the one above should come in bunches.

When you have such a strong presence like Zion inside, who can also create plays for others, the ideal partner for him is a player who can score/shoot in bunches. Ingram has been exactly that this season for the Pels. Combine his dynamic scoring tactics with his own ability to make plays for others, and Zion might just have himself his own variation of what Giannis Antetokounmpo now has in Khris Middleton (though both duos differ in their own way).

Zion and Ingram have the potential to become one of the most unique one-two punches in the entire league. Their two frames lie on complete opposite ends of the “body-spectrum,” they can both find their own shots and create for others, and together they should be able to cover positions 1-5. The ceiling for this duo is practically unseeable on both ends of the floor; both players’ widespread versatility is a huge reason for that.

New Orleans might actually have their superstar duo set for the next 5-7 years. The next step is building around the two. Loading up on shooters and defenders will be the blueprint in doing that.