It seems like the New Orleans Pelicans can’t get away from the Chicago Bulls right now.
Now only did the two teams orchestrate a sign-and-trade for Lonzo Ball that has now become complicated by an ongoing tampering investigation, but they will face off in the first game of the Summer League.
The Pelicans have had some huge Summer League debuts, most notably two years ago, when Zion Williamson abused Kevin Knox and immortalized him in a poster dunk.
This year won’t be nearly as colorful, as the Pelicans are mostly running with guys fans have never heard of before and there certainly won’t be the type of hype and excitement there was when Zion stepped on the floor in Vegas.
But there are some interesting things to watch for, especially since they are playing the Bulls, who are currently trying to fleece the Pels in a deal for Lauri Markkanen.
Even though it doesn’t matter, I am hoping the Pels stomp the Bulls, as quite frankly, I’m sick of them already.
Here are three things to watch.
New Orleans Pelicans: The development of Kira Lewis Jr.
Kira Lewis Jr. actually had a very good rookie season for the Pelicans that went largely unnoticed.
He played bigger minutes than planned due to injury and didn’t embarrass himself even though he was usually the youngest player on the court.
Last season, Lewis Jr. didn’t have the benefit of much of an offseason, training camp, Summer League or G-League, so he missed out on some developmental chances but got to play meaningful minutes with the team.
With a full offseason training schedule, I expect Kira Lewis Jr. to make a big leap, starting with the first Summer League game. Lewis Jr. is one of the “veterans” on the team, so he needs to run the offensive effectively and not turn the ball over, as he did as a reserve last season.
But I also want to see him be aggressive on offense, to use his elite speed and quickness to get into the lane and show he can finish once he does.
I expect to see a stronger and even faster Kira Lewis Jr. and it would be great if he could come out and show it off in the first game vs. the Bulls, who are likely to be a rival of the Pelicans moving forward because of the Lonzo Ball saga.