The Pelicans' “spacing lineup” has been a topic of recent discussion due to its early success in the season. These lineups are focused on opening up the paint with the most successful iterations featuring Matt Ryan, Jordan Hawkins, and CJ McCollum.
To maximize the skills of Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, it is imperative to surround them with shooting. Jordan Hawkins has been integral to the success of this lineup, largely due to his skill as a sharpshooter. He is shooting about 37 percent from deep on 55.3 percent true shooting. Hawkins is the best 3-point shooter in his draft class and is already on a trajectory to be one of the league's premier sharpshooters.
Pelicans desperately need Jordan Hawkins' shooting
Hawkins has fantastic motion instincts. He always cuts and moves with a purpose. His ability to relocate into the line of sight of the ball handler and to a pocket of space aids in creating and maintaining advantages. The 6'5" marksman has a lot of aptitude for relocating and then shooting, which results in a lot of cut assists.
Spacing enhances the skills of Zion & BI, as the best way to defend the two of them is to pack the paint to deter drives in addition to providing strong contests for any jumpers.
Hawkins’ shot versatility serves as a natural counter to this strategy. His ability to shoot from deep forces opposing teams to choose with their defense, and most likely, they will decide to stop Zion & BI. This frees up easy shots for Jordan Hawkins to take and make.
With the injuries piling up on the Pelicans roster, Hawkins has started multiple games and has shown that he is worth those minutes. As players return, there will be fewer shots to go around, but Hawkins should be a priority because he will make the most of them, even without significant usage.