New Orleans Pelicans: Young guards show they deserve more minutes

Despite the result, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. showed that they deserve more minutes on this New Orleans Pelicans team

Unfortunately, the New Orleans Pelicans have fallen 4-6 on the season with a 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. However, this game deserves a slight asterisk because the Pelicans were without Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball, and Zion Williamson when facing one of the best teams in the NBA.

That’s why I decided that it’s best to focus on the two bright spots I saw in this loss. Those bright spots were Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. Forced into action due to the Pelicans’ absences, these two young guards showed serious potential that could turn into staying power on this team. Let’s break it down.

New Orleans Pelicans, Kira Lewis Jr.

Jan 13, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Kira Lewis Jr. (13) shoots ahead of Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams (23) during the first half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. showed the New Orleans Pelicans tonight

We’ll start with Nickeil Alexander-Walker. Nickeil got the start at point guard tonight with Eric Bledsoe out, and he absolutely flourished. He finished his first career start with 37 points and 7 rebounds.

It was an outstanding performance, especially against one of the NBA’s best defenses. What I thought stood out the most was the fact that the Nickeil was able to drive into the paint consistently, scoring efficiently. He finished shooting 15 for 21.

Kira Lewis Jr’s performance was much less tangible than Alexander-Walker’s. He played only 16 minutes and scored just 10 points, but I saw was impressive. First and foremost, the speed that draft evaluators said he had was present. Whether Kira had the ball in his hands or not, he seemed to zip all over the floor.

In addition to that, Lewis flashed his own driving ability along with a compact 3 point shot. Certainly a few elements that could make this offense better in the future.

Now, I won’t overrate these performances and make any bold statements just yet, but the Pelicans offense ran very well with these two players in the mix. I think given some of the Pelicans’ recent offensive woes, it means that Stan Van Gundy’s staff should be looking for some creative ways to get these two guards on the floor more. They certainly showed that they belong in the NBA!