New Orleans Pelicans: Ceiling and floor for Pels under the age of 25

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans have a lot of young talent (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans currently have six players under the age of 25, including rising superstars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram.

Analysts always use 25 as a marker because most players give a pretty good indication of what they are going to be by that age. Players can and do get better of course, but most have shown their best and worst-case scenarios.

Take Josh Hart, who is 25-years-old right now. Hart will likely get better, but he’s more or less what he is going to be, a solid wing defender who can knock down shots and be an important role player on a good team.

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The six Pelicans we are going to look at have barely scratched the surface of their collective talent, so it is a bit harder to predict, though the two cornerstones look like locks to be All-Stars for many years.

Let’s take a look at the six players under-25 on the New Orleans Pelicans, and what their ceiling and floor can be.

New Orleans Pelicans: Ceiling and floor for Jaxson Hayes

Ceiling: Top-5 shot-blocker and rebounder in the NBA

Floor: Fringe rotation player

Jaxson Hayes probably has as much boom-or-bust potential of any of the young Pelicans.

He has tantalizing athleticism and has played well at times this year. The other times? Hayes is still lost on defense, has absolutely zero offensive game outside of putbacks and lobs and looks like a guy who needs about five more years of learning how to play basketball.

He is only 20 and not making that much, so the Pelicans can be patient as he slowly gets better. If Hayes focuses his efforts on defense and rebounding, he should be able to carve out a role for himself, especially if he can do those things at a high level.

He could end up being a late-bloomer who leads the league in blocks when he is 30, like Hassan Whiteside.

New Orleans Pelicans: Ceiling and floor for Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Ceiling: Sixth man of the year candidate

Floor: Fringe role player

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is another player who is hard to gauge. Occasionally, he looks like a real talent and at other times a guy who turns the ball over too much takes bad shots and doesn’t really have a position.

I am probably not as high on NAW as others, mostly because he takes incredibly difficult shots to get his points, so when he is hitting them he looks great and when he isn’t he looks terrible.

He is very streaky and could end up being a Lou Williams type who gets points in bunches off the bench.

If he doesn’t get more efficient offensively, his ceiling is a fringe role player who bounces around the league but he’s only 22, so it’s still early.