Pelicans Notes: Ingram, Daniels, Zion, Robbins

Without a true point guard in the starting lineup, the Pelicans are planning to lean on Brandon Ingram more as a primary play-maker in the 2023/24 season, Christian Clark of writes. Ingram had a career average of 3.8 assists per game prior to last season, when he averaged 5.8 APG across 45 appearances.

Clark writes that the Pelicans were impressed by Ingram’s growth as a play-maker last year. He didn’t have a triple-double in the first six seasons of his career, but wound up having two in an eight-day span in March. In the final 25 games of the season, he averaged 6.5 assists per night.

You can put the ball in his hands, and he makes great decisions,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “Finding his teammates. Then his ability to score. We want to explore that more this season.

Pelicans guard CJ McCollum isn’t a true point guard, but has been playing in that role for New Orleans since his arrival. Like Ingram, McCollum has had career-high assist numbers in New Orleans, averaging 5.8 APG as a Pelican. However, New Orleans missed the playoffs last season and could be looking to switch things up.

With [Ingram] having the ball in his hands and [Zion Williamson] running into a screen, what is the defense going to do?” Green said. “Vice versa. If [Williamson] has the ball, here comes [Ingram]. Here comes [McCollum]. We are playing around with different ways we can attack.

We have more on the Pelicans:

  • Heading into his second season in the league, Dyson Daniels wants to become one of the league’s best perimeter defenders, Clark writes in a separate story. Daniels was respectable in his rookie year in that regard, with Clark noting that he guarded some of the league’s premier ball-handlers at a high level at times. Clark adds that the 6’8″ guard is poised to become a major rotation piece, but the key for him to do so is to grow on the offensive end. “We know Dyson is solid defensively,” Green said. “Now, it’s just about creating an offensive identity. And being a solid basketball player for us. We know he can do it.
  • In an interview with Green posted to the Pelicans’ Twitter account, the coach said that the Pelicans will look to use Williamson at the center position more this season, as ESPN’s Andrew Lopez observes (Twitter link). The Pelicans averaged 1.16 points per chance when Williamson acted as the team’s screener last season, according to Lopez, which ranked top five among players with 150 screens or more.
  • Center Liam Robbins was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right fibula, according to a release from the team. There is no current timetable for his return. The Pelicans signed Robbins to an Exhibit 10 deal this offseason and, with one open two-way contract slot, it looked like the Vanderbilt product was primed to compete for one of those spots. Now, the injury makes it an uphill battle. However, if Robbins is waived, he’ll be eligible for a $75K bonus if he spends at least 60 days with New Orleans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron.
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