The Pelicans have a fascinating core of young talent, based primarily around forwards Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.
But, should Williamson remain a power forward? Or would moving up one spot and playing undersized at center be the move to make?
Here’s the New Orleans Times-Picayune exploring it:
Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo’s versatility on both ends of the floor is a major reason why Miami is two wins away from making the Finals. Adebayo playing “up” a position when it matters most could also be a clue for how the Pelicans deploy their own athletic, talented big man in the future.
As a rookie, Zion Williamson operated almost exclusively at power forward. He played 92% of his minutes there compared to 8% of his minutes at center, according to Basketball Reference. As he continues to develop, lineups that feature him at center could be the Pelicans’ trump card in important moments.
Offensively, Williamson is already equipped to play the 5. In his first season, the 20-year-old proved he was one of the game’s most difficult players to slow down inside. Williamson averaged 16.8 points in the paint, the second-most in the league behind MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. His combination of speed, strength and touch around the rim allowed him to shoot 62.1% from the field inside of 5 feet.
Williamson averaged 22.5 points per game on 58.3% shooting — extremely efficient scoring numbers — even though he played most of his minutes next to Derrick Favors, a traditional center who posed no threat as an outside shooter. The Pelicans could immediately become a more dynamic offensive team by playing Williamson at center and surrounding him with four players who can make shots or attack off the dribble.
The Pelicans were a mess in the NBA restart at the Disney bubble, but for now it seems safe to write that off and focus on what should be a bright future. They do still have a lot of development to do if they want to be in the mix for next season’s playoffs. But the potential is there.