The Pelicans have no choice but patience with Nickeil Alexander-Walker

Nickeil Alexander-Walker had his best game of the season for the New Orleans Pelicans against the Philadelphia 76ers in an impressive loss.

NAW was forced into the starting lineup due to injuries that kept Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte’ Graham on the bench as the Pels try to navigate their way through the weirdest part of a schedule that has them playing six games in nine games, all back-to-backs.

NAW has been largely disappointing in his third season even though his scoring numbers are up slightly. Yes, he’s scoring 13.1 points per game but doing it in increased minutes and very inefficiently, putting up the worst shooting numbers of his career.

All of the problems that have plagued NAW in his young career are still there, as he is still committing too many turnovers, shooting too many 3-pointers and taking too many questionable shots.

But for all of his faults, NAW has still been the Pelicans’ sixth man, mostly due to his defense and the fact that they don’t have anyone else.

The New Orleans Pelicans have been patient with his development this season, but they don’t have a choice.

Hopefully the Pelicans’ patience with Nickeil Alexander-Walker will pay off

The Pels’ bench has been a weakness this season, mostly because third year players NAW and Jaxson Hayes have not progressed as we’d hoped and second-year guard Kira Lewis Jr. got hurt and is out for the season.

At this point, the Pels don’t have any other options, so NAW is going to continue to play a key role off the bench. They don’t have a choice.

Benching him in a season like this makes no sense, as the Pelicans have been shorthanded without Zion Williamson all season, so they may as well use this time to get Alexander-Walker the developmental reps he needs.

Trading him doesn’t make much sense either, as it would be selling low, and I can’t imagine there are too many teams lined up to offer much in return.

Unless he was part of a larger deal, it makes no sense to move NAW while his trade value is at its lowest.

The Pelicans have no choice but to keep running him out there and have to hope that eventually he will figure out it, which starts with shooting fewer 3-point shots, getting to the rim more and cleaning up his turnovers and shot selection.

Until the Pelicans have a better option or are in a position to move on from Alexander-Walker, their only choice is to keep playing him and hope that their faith in his immense talent and patience eventually pays dividends.