The playoffs are underway, and the Pelicans are home watching and wondering how they are not there.
Memphis’ play-in win over Golden State highlighted the promise associated with New Orleans. Although they are spectators this season, the future is bright. The vast talent across all positions brings hope.
This year wasn’t their year to make a splash, but next year could and should be. Nickeil Alexander-Walker‘s development this year is understated. A long guard who struggled in his rookie year exploded onto the scene and now shows that he is a starting calibre guard.
The offensive skills and defense are there, all he needs are some slight refinements, and he can become a borderline All-Star as soon as next season.
Watching similar players on the biggest stage and learning from them will help get him there.
Here are three guys he should watch.
Pelicans: Players for Nickeil Alexander-Walker to study- Jordan Clarkson, Utah Jazz
The newly crowned sixth man of the year has had an unforgettable season. Averaging a career-high in points, free throw percentage and shot attempts, Clarkson shook his previous reputation of an inefficient gunner.
The wiry guard’s body is similar to that of Alexander-Walker, and their game is very similar. No doubt Alexander-Walker is already lightyears ahead of Clarkson defensively, but offensively the style of play is there.
Albeit a more willing finisher inside, Alexander-Walker and Clarkson score most of their points behind the arc, with Alexander-Walker attempting 47.8 percent and Clarkson 55.7 percent of their shots from behind the arc. As well, their assist percentage is similar and on-court. It is evident both are at their best as secondary ball-handlers, scoring and penetrating off the weakside.
When watching Clarkson, Alexander-Walker should see how he creates space and utilises his size against smaller matchups.