Which New Orleans Pelicans youngster is taking the biggest leap next year?

Trey Murphy III & Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III & Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Do you know what can completely change the outlook of a team’s entire season? Injuries! Just look at what happened to the promising New Orleans Pelicans team from last year.

Well … yes, injuries can change the entire outlook of a season. But do you know what can change it in a positive direction? Significant leaps from the young players on your roster! And luckily for the Pelicans, they have a ton of youth on their depth chart. That means they have even more opportunity to have their season positively impacted by the growth of a young player.

But which young player has the best chance of breaking out this season? We wanted to get a temperature check on what fans of the team thought, so we decided to send out an X poll (follow us @PelicanDeBrief) to get a feel for the climate.

Before we begin, one quick thing we need to address. 2023 first-round pick Jordan Hawkins was not included in this poll because he hasn’t played in the NBA yet, so he can’t technically take a leap because he has no NBA production to build off of!

Anyway, the players we did include in the poll were Zion Williamson, Trey Murphy III, Herbert Jones, and Dyson Daniels. In total, we got 84 votes (so a solid sample size, but not a huge one). Here are the results:

And the winner, with 48.8% of the vote share (41 votes), is Murphy. In hindsight, this shouldn’t come as any surprise. Murphy improved quite a bit this year (see the tweet below), and some mainstream media people have pinpointed him as a potential candidate for the 2023-24 Most Improved Player award (the players who win that award usually take a sizable leap).

It also makes sense that second place went to Daniels (24 votes). He is the youngest of any of the players featured on the poll, so, in theory, he should have the most room to grow.

Williamson and Jones getting the least amount of votes (14 and 5 votes, respectively) is in line with conventional wisdom as well. Both of them are elite on one side of the ball (Williamson on offense and Jones on defense), and the only way they could take a huge leap is if they massively improved on the other end of the floor, which is a bit hard to imagine at this point in time. But then again, the whole point of leaps is that they are supposed to be surprising!

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