New Orleans Pelicans: Is Nickeil Alexander-Walker a starting NBA guard?

Nickeil Alexander-Walker #6 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker #6 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

There was a point in the season where it wouldn’t have really mattered if Nickeil Alexander-Walker was out of the lineup for the New Orleans Pelicans.

NAW has had an up and down season that started strong, hit some bumps, came back even stronger, then was ruined due to injury.

NAW was playing the best basketball of his career before the injury, and had he been able to play, the Pelicans might have made the play-in tournament.

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He went from possible trade-bait to a guy who looks like a building block for the future, so the season has been a success for Alexander-Walker.

He is still just 22-years-old, so has plenty more growth to come, which is why some people think the Pelicans should let Lonzo Ball walk in the offseason and just go with NAW as the starter.

I would prefer if the Pels kept Lonzo, traded Eric Bledsoe and inserted NAW into the starting lineup as the two-guard.

But can Nickeil Alexander-Walker excel as a starting two-guard in the NBA? The numbers say yes.

New Orleans Pelicans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker as a starter

NAW’s season has been up and down but one thing that has been consistent is his performance out of the starting lineup.

Some fans have questioned whether NAW has the talent to be the starter, and claim that his numbers are somewhat hollow given that they mostly came against the other team’s bench.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is averaging 10.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists overall this season, which is not bad but hardly inspires confidence in him being the starter next season.

However, his numbers have jumped way up when he’s been in the starting lineup. In the ten games he’s started, NAW is averaging 19 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. When he plays with better players and gets more minutes, he is more effective.

When you factor in his defensive improvements this season, I’d say that Nickeil Alexander-Walker can absolutely be the starting two-guard next season whether the New Orleans Pelicans keep Lonzo Ball or not.

NAW’s development has been one of the big positives from this season and the Pelicans have to feel good that they have at least one of the guards of the future.

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