How Brandon Ingram will adjust with Zion Williamson back

Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Brandon Ingram #14 of the New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans are hoping to get a full season of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram together and healthy, as they are one of the best duos in the NBA.

If healthy, this pair could easily be the NBA’s highest scoring teammates and they’ve already shown they can complement each other’s games.

But the Brandon Ingram we saw last season was not the same one we saw the last time Zion Williamson played, as BI was far more of a facilitator and was the team’s top scoring option.

The stats didn’t change much, as BI has averaged 23.1 points, five rebounds and 4.5 assists in his 81 games with Zion, not far off his averages from last season when they didn’t play together at all.

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It’s not the overall numbers that will change, but how Ingram gets them, which will be different now that Zion is healthy and back in the lineup.

Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson back together

Like I said, if you compare Brandon Ingram’s stats from last season with his stats with Zion in the lineup, there isn’t a whole lot of difference.

Ingram actually scored slightly more with Zion in the lineup (which you might not expect) while his rebounds and assists ticked up without Zion in there (which you would expect).

But one stat that stands out is that Ingram only took 4.1 attempts per game from 3-point range last season, connecting on just 32 percent of them, which was his worst percentage since his rookie season.

In the 81 games Ingram played with Zion, he averaged 6.2 attempts from long range and hit 38 percent of them, so Ingram not only shot more, but made more 3-point shots in the games he played with Zion.

Ingram can dominate in the mid-range, and when he is feeling it, he’s almost unstoppable, as he has the wingspan to shoot over just about anyone. But now Zion is going to be back to taking up a lot of that space, so BI is going to have to drift back out to the 3-point line at times, which should lead to a few more 3-point attempts per game.

Ingram is smart enough to know this, which is why I wasn’t surprised to see him working with shot doctor Fred Vinson yesterday in practice. With Zion back and CJ McCollum on board for the whole season, Ingram doesn’t have to be the team’s only playmaker as he was for much of last season.

He can play more off the ball and take a few more from long range, which is something the Pelicans need. Expect to see Ingram closer to six or seven 3-point attempts this season, after spending most of last year operating exclusively from the mid-range in.

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