The Pelicans should play even faster with Zion Williamson

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) Credit: Adam Hunger/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) Credit: Adam Hunger/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Herbert Jones
Herbert Jones #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans strips the ball from Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers . (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans will welcome Zion Williamson back to the roster next season, which is going to have a ripple effect on the entire team.

Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum will probably play more off the ball, with Zion taking on some off the responsibility of initiating the offense in the half court.

Jaxson Hayes will move back to the bench, and Jonas Valanciunas may start launching more 3-point shots, which he gave a preview of last season, shooting the most of his career.

Zion’s presence alone should lead to more open shots for guys like Trey Murphy III and Devonte’ Graham, which will hopefully help them as shooters.

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But one thing that won’t change is that the Pelicans will try to play fast, in fact, they should play even faster when Zion Williamson returns.

New Orleans Pelicans: Steals, fast break points and pace

The New Orleans Pelicans made a leap defensively last season and hope to make another under coach Willie Green, who preaches defense as part of the non-negotiable rules he implemented last season in training camp.

The Pelicans were 7th in the NBA in steals last season, which led to a lot of fast breaks. New Orleans ended the season with the 6th-most fast break points per game in the league.

This should continue, as guys like Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado and rookie Dyson Daniels are going to be roaming the perimeter looking for swipes, which lead to easy buckets going the other way.

The Pelicans weren’t great in the half court, and were only 21st in pace overall, so getting easy buckets off transition is a way to keep the game fast, which is where they are at their best.

And the Pels should be even better once Zion Williamson returns.