The New Orleans Pelicans have no shortage of exciting young players that they added in the offseason like Zion Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram. As one might come to expect by now, LaVar Ball had some advice for the group.
In a recent interview with TMZ Sports, LaVar said a fair amount of crazy stuff. For starters, he said that the Pelicans will win the NBA Finals this year. While that is outlandish, one thing that he got right was his comment about the Pelicans needing to run while highlighting his son, Lonzo Ball, for his passing ability.
“If you gonna run and pass the ball and play the right way, Zo will play with anybody. So, it’s not that Zion is better than Lebron or Lebron is better … anybody with an IQ that can play the game of basketball, [Lonzo’s] fine playing with.”
The passing ability that Ball brings to the table should be one of the key elements of the Pelicans’ transition offense. He has a keen awareness of where his teammates are on the floor before even getting his hands on the basketball. Between making lead passes that hit his teammates well in stride and making quick touch passes, he has plenty of methods of attacking a transition defense.
Having a guard that can pass like Ball is helpful but that skill is maximized when paired with an elite athlete like Zion Williamson. With the speed that Williamson runs up the floor and how he rises above the rim, he should provide Ball with no shortage of situations to be the one passing the ball for a fast-break dunk.
It didn’t take long for Ball and Williamson to connect with one another in the open court. During the Pelicans’ recent preseason matchup with the Chicago Bulls, Williamson threw down a two-handed dunk using a ‘give-and-go’ exchange with Ball. The sequence was jump-started by Jrue Holiday making a quick outlet pass to Williamson.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 10, 2019
It’s not just all about Williamson when it comes to the Pelican’s options for play finishers in the open court. Between the catch-and-shoot proficiency of J.J. Reddick and the 7’3″ wingspan of Ingram, the Pelicans have other players that could prove to be timely contributors in transition situations when needed.
Let’s not forget that the Pelicans do not have to rely on Ball as their only capable transition ball-handler, which should make for a genuinely layered final product. Both Holiday and Williamson are effective at taking it ‘coast-to-coast’ themselves after a defensive rebound while also being talented passers.
It still remains to be seen whether the Pelicans’ preseason success as a half-court offense will come close to sustaining. Regardless of if that happens, they will need their strong potential in transition situations to come to fruition.