New Orleans Pelicans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker is shooting too many 3-pointers

Head coach Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Head coach Willie Green of the New Orleans Pelicans and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans are off to a rocky start without Zion Williamson, which was to be expected.

There have been some bright spots in the losses so far, including the play of Jonas Valanciunas, though he is playing far too many minutes.

The surprising thing is that the Pels’ offense has struggled mightily, but it’s nothing that adding Zion won’t remedy.

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The defense and rebounding have been decent so far, so once the Pels’ offense gets on track, they should be ok.

One of the problems so far is that the Pels aren’t making 3-point shots, especially Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who is shooting far too many of them.

New Orleans Pelicans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker needs to work for better shots

If you just looked at NAW’s raw statistics for the season you’d be happy. He is averaging 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, both career highs.

His steals and blocks are up and his 2-point shooting percentage is about where it was last season. It’s the 3-point shots that are killing him.

NAW is shooting just 24 percent from long range this season, which wouldn’t be a huge problem if he weren’t shooting 8.3 of them per game, by far the most of his career.

That output is nearly double what he averaged last season and it’s been a problem, as he is settling for 3-point shots instead of trying to penetrate to get better looks.

I’ve long said that NAW relies far to heavily on tough shot making to get his points, and this is never more obvious than when he is launching step-back 3-point shots or forcing them with a hand in his face.

NAW has the bag to get to the rim but so far this season he has been settling for too many 3-point shots, and let’s be honest, teams will give him those all night. While NAW occasionally gets hot, he is not a great spot-up shooter and needs to work harder to get better shots or set up his teammates.

I still think NAW is primed to have a breakout season and his overall numbers are not terrible, but they’d be a lot better if he’d stop launching so many 3-point shots.

Next. The Pels look improved in this area so far in 2021-22. dark