Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s shooting numbers are alarming

Nickeil Alexander-Walker #6 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker #6 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans have had an up and down season but one thing has remained constant, which is Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s poor shooting.

He was at it again last night against Houston, hitting just 3-of-13 shots overall and failing to provide any kind of spark off the bench.

While most of the Pelicans’ problems this season can be written off as effects of not having Zion Williamson, NAW’s poor shooting numbers are baffling and have no easy cause to blame.

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While he has never been a very good 3-point shooter, his numbers across the board are alarmingly bad.

After last night, NAW is shooting just 36 percent from the field and 30 percent from the 3-point line with an effective field goal percentage of just 43 percent, all the worst of his career.

Players tend to make a leap in their third season but so far Nickeil Alexander-Walker has taken a step back, so what is going on?

Nickeil Alexander-Walker is not finishing at the rim

I don’t think anyone who has watched NAW over the last two seasons is at all surprised about his 3-point shooting numbers.

I’ve long said that he shoots WAY too many 3-pointers for a guy who isn’t very good at making them, and he has been even worse this year, launching 6.8 per game, highest of his career even though he is making a career-low percentage.

If it were just 3-pointers I wouldn’t be that concerned, but it’s his numbers as he gets closer to the rim that are really alarming. Just check out this graphic:

As Christian Clark points out, NAW is shooting less than 50 percent from the RESTRICTED AREA.  To give you an idea of how bad that is, Brandon Ingram hits 67 percent from the restricted area. Kira Lewis Jr., who also struggles to finish, hits 69 percent in the restricted area. Josh Hart (64%), Herb Jones (60%),  and even Devonte’ Graham (56%) are all better than NAW.

Alexander-Walker is supposed to be player with a versatile offensive bag of mid-range shots and takes to the rim, but he is well below league average in both.

The promising sign is that NAW is getting quite a few of his shots from there but the bad sign is that he isn’t making them.

This shouldn’t stop NAW from driving, nor does it mean he should shoot more 3-point shots but something has to change, as Alexander-Walker is shooting like a guy who does not belong in an NBA rotation.

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