The New Orleans Pelicans stand out performers
Zion Williamson vs the Cavs

The Pelicans have been a team who are constantly in or around the playoff places. With this in mind, they could potentially be a threat to the teams ahead of them in the Western Conference.

The importance of players like Zion Williamson, Trey Murphy and Brandon Ingram is undeniable. So, how do they impact the team?

Zion Williamson 

In professional basketball, few names spark as much interest as the New Orleans Pelicans power forward, Zion Williamson. Since his debut in the NBA, Williamson has surprised fans with his explosive style of play, earning a reputation as a promising young talent.  

Williamson's impact is undeniable on the court. Averaging an impressive 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game, he has established himself as a versatile player. His ability to contribute across multiple areas shows his versatility and basketball IQ, making him a threat on both ends of the floor. 

As Williamson continues to clock in more playtime, he is becoming fitter, faster, and even more explosive. This improvement has translated into his game, allowing him to dominate in transition, blow past defenders, and push to the rim. 

A closer look at Williamson's play reveals his unselfish nature and court vision. Despite facing tight defensive pressure, he has managed to elevate his game by consistently finding ways to create space for his teammates. His increase in assist numbers season after season proves his evolution as a playmaker, proving that he's more than just a scoring machine. 

When it comes to scoring, Williamson's dominance around the basket is difficult to defend. Using his incredible 6-foot-6, 280-pound frame and 6-foot-10 wingspan to his advantage, he pushes his way through defenders and often finishes with dunks or acrobatic layups. His ability to dribble in highly contested areas near the rim is due to his incredible body control. 

Williamson's offensive abilities not only come from his large size. He has great agility which allows him to drive to the basket with great speed and change direction. Whether he's attacking from the perimeter or muscling his way into the paint, the 23-year-olds diverse strengths keep defenders guessing which catches the opposition off guard. The power forward is not afraid to utilize his physicality to gain an advantage. 

Trey Murphy 

Role-players often prove to be underappreciated to a team's success. One player proving to be a threat off the bench is Trey Murphy. While his statistics may not always grab the headlines, his contributions to the Pelicans are crucial.  

Murphy averages 13.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 0.8 steals per game. Despite spending less time on the court compared to last season, he has managed to improve his game, showcasing an increase in rebounds and assists. This demonstrates his versatility and willingness to contribute to various parts of the game. 

While his shooting statistics may have dipped slightly from the previous season, the 23-year-old's ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc remains a threat against opposition. A standout performance against the Raptors on March 6th, where he buried ten three-pointers, proves how dangerous he can be from deep. 

One of Murphy's greatest strengths is his chemistry with teammate Zion Williamson. Williamson's ability to draw attention from defenders creates space for Murphy to operate and allows him to showcase his shooting ability. This relationship highlights the forward's understanding of spacing and his ability to capitalise on opportunities when they come his way. 

Despite being known primarily as a threat from the perimeter, Murphy's 6-foot-8 frame allows him to hold his own in the paint. This versatility makes him a difficult matchup for opposing defenders, as he can stretch the floor with his shooting or use his size to finish around the basket. His ability to keep defenders guessing makes him unpredictable which often leads to uncontested points. 

In addition to his offence, Murphy excels in transition and his athleticism and composure shine. He capitalises on momentum swings, converting layups with ease. His ability to perform well in fast-paced situations adds another part to his game. 

Brandon Ingram 

With averages of 21.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game, Brandon Ingram's importance to the team is proven. He demonstrates great efficiency on the court with an impressive 49.3 field goal percentage.  

At 6-foot-8, with a wingspan stretching to 7 feet 3 inches, Ingram possesses physical attributes that set him apart from most players in his position. His length grants him a high release point and allows him to tower over defenders, creating mismatches and openings in the defence. 

One of the strongest parts of Ingram's game is his ability to score from midrange. He uses subtle movements and footwork to create space for jump shots. Ingram's skill to navigate through traffic and find his spots on the floor is incredible. He uses spins and set-back jumpers whilst dribbling towards the basket to create a small window of space to shoot in. 

His patience and ability to delay his shot in midair often catches defenders off guard, leaving them scrambling to contest his shots. Ingram is also unselfish with the ball as he looks for better passing options if he is tightly guarded or is unlikely to score. His court vision and eye contact make him a constant threat in transition, as he orchestrates fast breaks and capitalises on mistakes.