Anthony Davis rumors seem a bit quieter today, but by all indications, the Lakers and Celtics are still interested. The New Orleans Pelicans could end up with either Brandon Ingram or Jayson Tatum if one of these teams has their offer accepted. Who fits better?
New Orleans Pelicans/Anthony Davis rumors are going to continue at full throttle until a deal is finally struck. While David Griffin claims he isn’t in a hurry to make a trade by the NBA Draft on June 20th, it still would make sense to do so in case any picks are going to be included in the transaction. At least verbally agreeing on a deal ensures the players the Pelicans want in the draft are selected by the team that owns any picks being sent over.
If a deal is in place any time soon, it seems likely that it could come from either the Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics. If LA is the winning team, arguably their most exciting player that would come over to the Pelicans would be Brandon Ingram. David Griffin and the rest of the front office are very high on Ingram, so many within the organization would be thrilled to add him to the lineup.
However, it’s been well documented that the New Orleans Pelicans also love Jayson Tatum, the second year wing from the Boston Celtics. If he’s actually offered up in a deal for Anthony Davis, it could pretty easily become the winning offer.
So with these two players being a couple of the biggest names linked to New Orleans in these recent rumors, which one is actually a better fit on the team?
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Both players are wings, so both could be slotted at the small forward position with Zion Williamson holding it down as the power forward. The Pelicans haven’t had a true “3” in their lineup for a while now, so the addition of either of these guys would be welcome.
Both players saw similar minutes in 2018-2019. Ingram put up 18.3 points, 5.1 boards, and 3 assists per game, while Tatum averaged 15.7 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists himself. These are similar enough numbers, but they lean slightly in Ingram’s favor given the extra 2.5 points per game he scored.
Ingram also shot right around 50% from the floor, while Tatum was at 45%. However, it becomes apparent who the better shooter actually is when you notice Tatum shot a solid 37% from deep and 86% from the foul line, while Ingram shot 33% and 68% in these same areas. Ingram’s overall usage rate was slightly higher than Tatum’s, which could explain some of his advantages in his stat-line compared to Tatum, who was on a Celtics team loaded with many weapons.
As you start to look a little deeper, however, Tatum starts to pull away in some other areas. He’s better defensively. He takes care of the ball and turns it over much less than Ingram. Oh, and he already has 28 games of playoff experience, which is a difficult stat to quantify, but is incredibly important in the development of a young player. He’s averaged about 35 minutes per game in each of these 28 postseason matchups.
In the playoffs, his stats remain similar enough to his regular season numbers, which is a great sign for a 20 year old. He’s already got the skills and mental fortitude to have high value even after the first 82 games in a season. He turns the ball over a bit more in the playoffs and shoots worse from range, but these things will improve as he ages.
Though the Pelicans aren’t concerned about Zion Williamson’s shooting touch yet, it’s still widely agreed that New Orleans will want to put as many shooters around him as possible. While Tatum isn’t a deadeye threat from long range yet, he definitely has the edge on Ingram in this area for the time being.
Still, Brandon Ingram is an exciting, young player. He had a health scare earlier this year, but assuming he can come back healthy, there’s plenty to like about his game and what he could bring to the table in New Orleans.
Anthony Davis rumors will continue to leak out for the indefinite future, and you can expect the Lakers and Celtics to be at the center of most of them. If the New Orleans Pelicans end up taking an offer from one of these teams, adding Brandon Ingram or Jayson Tatum alike would be exciting for the organization. Tatum seems like the safer bet right now to be a mainstay in the league for a long time, but don’t overlook the value of Ingram either. But for now, give me Tatum.