The New Orleans Pelicans are undefeated in the preseason with three wins under their belt and a lot to talk about regarding how they have played.
Preseason games do not count but do not tell that to the New Orleans Pelicans.
The New Orleans Pelicans are 3-0 in the preseason thus far and have two great wins under their belt already. The second win of the preseason came in a lengthy comeback over the Chicago Bulls while the team’s win on Friday against the Utah Jazz came in a game that they stuck around and eventually took the lead.
At the end of the day, these games do not matter at all for the team itself. We should not overreact either way about the results of these games as it can be completely different in the regular season.
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Instead of getting fixated on the results, fans should be fixated on individual performances. That is what the preseason is all about and that is why it is valuable in the first place.
On an individual scale, the Pelicans have been great thus far. Zion Williamson has been as advertised, Lonzo Ball‘s jumper looks so much better, Brandon Ingram has shown flashes of brilliance and even Jahlil Okafor had a great first game.
But out of everyone, there has been one player that has stood out the most for their play: Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Alexander-Walker has not had the best performance on the Pelicans through three games, as that belongs to Zion, but he is right behind him at second, showing how good of a preseason that he has had.
Alexander-Walker is averaging 15.7 points per game with four assists and a steal per game. It extends far beyond the numbers, though, as an average fan might not even bat an eye at these averages, although they are solid.
Alexander-Walker has looked like he belongs out there and does not look like a rookie, whatsoever, He has taken confidence in his shot and is popping and making threes and has driven to the basket and displayed a nice finishing touch.
My favorite play of Alexander-Walker’s thus far was a fake behind-the-back pass against the Hawks that got the defender to completely bite. There was another defender in the area to contest the shot, but Nickeil-Alexander still made it.
He looks good off-ball and can be a great scorer coming off screens. He looks good on-ball orchestrating the offense and using his playmaking ability to get open. With his speed and quickness, he can be a sneaky good defensive player as well.
This is a guy that has been a little bit of an afterthought after the pieces that the New Orleans Pelicans landed in the Anthony Davis trade as well as getting Zion. Heck, Alexander-Walker was the Pelicans’ third choice of the first round.
But at the end of the day, we all should have known that Alexander-Walker was the perfect candidate to outperform his draft location, and based on how he is playing right now, I think that will definitely be the case.
It is a very, very small sample size and there is still a lot of basketball left to play. But if he plays like this in the regular season, and actually gets adequate playing time, I cannot see him missing the All-Rookie team.