Pelicans: Numbers say Nickeil Alexander-Walker should drive more

New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Nickeil Alexander-Walker has had an up and down start for the New Orleans Pelicans, though he has strung together some good games recently.

His shooting has been bad, especially from long range, as NAW is shooting just 28 percent on 3-pointers on a whopping 7.8 attempts per game.

While NAW is logging career highs in minutes and points per game, his overall shooting percentages are the lowest of his career.

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One way to get those numbers up is to work for better shots, as Alexander-Walker is shooting too many 3-point shots, often settling for long-range bombs instead of trying to drive to the rim.

This should get better once the New Orleans Pelicans are at full strength, as NAW will get better looks when Zion Williamson is out there drawing attention.

But the numbers support the idea that he should drive more, as he is not only creating better shots for himself but also his teammates.

New Orleans Pelicans: Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the 3-point shot

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is second on the Pelicans with 10.2 drives per game according to

NAW is getting just under five attempts per game off these drives while shooting 50 percent and scoring on 56 percent of them overall. He’s also creating a free throw attempt per game off drives right now.

His three best games of the season were all ones where fewer than half of his overall shot attempts were 3-pointers and all of his worst games came then most of his shots were from long range.

All of these numbers tell me that Nickeil Alexander-Walker needs to drive to the basket more. He’s been very effective scoring off of drives and far less so when he shoots most of his shots from long range.

He is only getting just under an assist per game off drives, which is one area that needs to improve, but that number will tick up if he is closer to 14 drives per game than the 10.2 he has now.

I don’t think we can expect NAW to suddenly be lights-out from 3-point range, but he can score more off the bounce, which is something he is already very good at doing.

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