The two teams are similar in more ways than one. Both are bannered by young and talented players, with a sprinkling of grizzled veterans, and are hoping to compete for a spot in the postseason.
The New Orleans Pelicans are led by All-Star forward Brandon Ingram, who was just named the Western Conference Player of the Week. Then, there’s the 2019 NBA Draft’s no. 1 overall pick, Zion Williamson, who is making up for lost time after missing most of last season due to a knee injury that required load management throughout the year.
On the Phoenix Suns’ side, future Hall of Famer Chris Paul arrived this offseason to help stabilize the team's offense. The franchise also has sensational shooting guard Devin Booker, who once scored 70 points in a game, and Deandre Ayton, a throwback to the centers of old.
Combined Starting 5 (New Orleans Pelicans vs Phoenix Suns)
The combined starting 5 for the New Orleans Pelicans and Phoenix Suns is an exciting mix of young players and a seasoned veteran who continues to defy Father Time.
Center - Deandre Ayton (Phoenix Suns)
Deandre Ayton is averaging a career-low in points with 11.0 a game. His attempts are also down this season at 8.3 a night compared to 14.9 a season ago. His rebounds and assists are up at 11.7 and 2.3 per game, respectively.
Despite a dip in his scoring numbers, the 22-year old is developing into a force in the paint for the Phoenix Suns.
Power Forward - Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Very few players (if any) can move Zion Williamson out of the low block. Once he establishes a position, Williamson will either get a bucket or get fouled. Sometimes, it’s both.
The New Orleans Pelicans are not restricting his minutes this NBA season, and it has spiked some of his numbers. Williamson is currently averaging 21.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2.3 steals per game. As he gets comfortable playing more than 30 minutes a game, expect his stats to rise significantly.
Small Forward - Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
After coming from the LA Lakers in the blockbuster Anthony Davis trade, Brandon Ingram has been posting some of the best stats of his career for the New Orleans Pelicans.
After the first week of the NBA’s 2020-21 season, Ingram became the first player in New Orleans Pelicans franchise history to record at least 80 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists through the team’s first three games of the season.
This year, he is posting career-highs across the board with 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per contest.
Shooting Guard - Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
One of the best shooting guards in the league, Devin Booker is coming off his first All-Star Game selection with more to come in the future. The Phoenix Suns’ hopes rest on the shoulders of Booker, who is looking to lead the franchise to its first playoff berth since 2010.
Booker has averages of 22.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game this season.
Point Guard - Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns)
Playing in his 16th season, Chris Paul is still a top-tier point guard in the league.
As a playmaker, there are very few who can match the Phoenix Suns guard. Though he is averaging a career-low 12.7 points a game this season, his assists are up with 9.7 nightly helpers. That’s Paul’s highest assists average in five years.
Paul is playing just 29.3 minutes per game, a career-low for the future Hall of Famer, which means coach Monty Williams is managing his minutes for the long regular-season grind.
Published 29 Dec 2020, 09:34 IST