The New Orleans Pelicans have a promising future with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram if they manage to successfully hold on to them. Although things are going smoothly now, the Pelicans run the risk of losing them just like Anthony Davis if they are not surrounded with the right supporting cast.
Zion Williamson is currently the franchise player, with the team's success partly on his shoulders. The 21-year-old has asserted his dominance early in his career, posting Shaquille O'Neal-like numbers after only two seasons in the NBA.
Although Brandon Ingram was acquired via trade from the LA Lakers for Davis, he has grown to be a dependable figure for the Pels. He had to carry the team while the team's 2019 rookie signing battled a knee injury. Ingram was exceptional in his first run with the Pelicans. He received an All-Star nod and the award for Most Improved Player in the 2019-20 NBA season.
Both players have shown how effective they can be for the New Orleans Pelicans. But it's time to turn things up a notch as players are getting itchy to feature in playoff basketball.
On that note, here are five reasons to be excited about the Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram pairing for the 2021-22 NBA season.
#1 Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson have built chemistry
The more players play together, the more likely they are to build trust and develop an understanding of each other's games. Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson will be entering their third season as teammates, a partnership that has continued to grow over the years.
The Duke product and the 2016 second overall pick will head into the 2021-22 NBA season as one of the best frontcourt pairings in the league. Brandon Ingram is still a threat attacking the basket or pulling up from mid-range. Now he also has a better understanding of his role as the second scoring option. He has improved on feeding Zion Williamson if the situation arises.
It will be exciting to see how both youngsters build on their relationship on the court. So far, they have played 81 games together, and have a win-loss record of 39-42.
#2 The pairing is one of the most effective in scoring baskets
We have seen duos like the Stephen Curry-Klay Thompson partnership rock the league, so this pairing could be no different. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have the potential to be one of the best duos in the NBA. We might witness them taking that leap in the 2021-22 season itself.
Last season, they were the duo with the most 20 and 25+ point games. They have shown that they can score the basket, and they could recreate such performances in the upcoming season too. Williamson ended the 2020-21 season averaging 27 points, while Ingram tallied 23.8 points per game.
#3 Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram have complemented each other well so far
While we do not necessarily have a LeBron James-Anthony Davis dynamics, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson have complemented each other well on the court. Williamson plays outright bully ball down low, and is willing to attack the rim on every chance he gets. But he can also find the open man, racking up his assists total last season to 226 (3.7 per game).
Ingram, meanwhile, has helped elevate Zion Williamson's game. Although not a traditional point guard, Brandon Ingram has successfully thrown lobs to the 2019 first overall pick for easy deuces.
The 2021-22 season may be no different, as both players have figured out a way to play together and be productive. Fit has been a problem for the New Orleans Pelicans, as they have had to shuffle through players who can play alongside Zion Williamson.
#4 New management could bring out the best in the duo
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram's partnership has flourished so far but can definitely get better. While they are legitimate scoring threats, their defensive abilities are subpar.
The New Orleans Pelicans need to show major improvement in their third year with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram as the franchise's cornerstones. After missing out on the playoffs again, the Pels parted ways with Stan Van Gundy and hired Willie Green as their new head coach.
Green is young, and is expected to be able to connect with the young players in the team. Although he has never served as a head coach, he has significant experience as an assistant under Steve Kerr and Monty Williams.
#5 The New Orleans Pelicans could be a significant threat in all areas of the court with Ingram and Williamson
Finding a duo that can do it all in offense is not easy to come by. James and Davis are the perfect example of a duo that can cause significant damage from all ends of the court. While the Brandon Ingram-Zion Williamson partnership has not reached elite status, they pose a huge threat, given the number of ways they can score.
Zion Williamson has never shied away from a contest in the paint. He has taken on the three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert, and has come out unscathed on occasion. Matching up against Williamson in the post almost always ends in his favor.
While Williamson dominates the paint, Ingram can patrol the perimeter and also knock down mid-range jumpers. In the 2020-21 NBA season, Ingram shot 38.1% from beyond the arc and 51% from the two-point range.