For the Pelicans, the return of Zion Williamson has made them look like a sleeping giant. Williamson adds a dynamic element to their offense that will make stopping them really difficult. When you combine Williamson with the emergence of Herb Jones, this Pelicans team deserves contender status. Brandon Ingram is also playing at another level to start the season. In the Pelicans’ last two games, Ingram is averaging 28 PPG while shooting 54% from the field and 60% from three. Those numbers aren’t sustainable, but there’s it’s clear he is becoming one of the premier small forwards in the league.
The Jazz also had an impressive start to the season with wins over two playoff contenders in the Nuggets and the Wolves. A lot of this has come with the Jazz winning by committee. The Jazz have 10 players averaging 14 minutes or more per game with no one averaging more than 36. The Jazz also have 6 players averaging 12 ppg or more with Lauri Markkanen being the leading scorer with 20.5 PPG. This game against the Pelicans will be interesting because we’ll find out if what the Jazz are doing is sustainable or if the Pelicans will have found a way to slow them down.
There have been a few outliers for this Jazz team that have helped them win their last two games. In their overtime win of the Wolves, Olynyk finished the game shooting 5/6 from three which won’t likely continue all season. They also got a 4/6 3-pt shooting night from Rudy Gay in their win over the Nuggets. Maybe that will be the story of the season for this Jazz team where they see certain players have big nights or maybe those are numbers that make the record a little deceptive. A win against the Pelicans would mean the Jazz need to be taken a little more seriously.
When: 5:00 PM MT
Where: Target Center, Minneapolis, MN
Radio: 97.5/1280 The Zone
What to watch for
Can the Jazz withstand the onslaught of offense from the Pelicans?
This Pelicans team can really fill it up. With Ingram and Williamson as their primary scorer, that makes CJ McCollum the 3rd scoring option which is pretty scary. Do the Jazz have the scheme and talent to hold up against that? It’s a tough ask.
The x-factor for this Jazz team has been Jarred Vanderbilt. While on the floor he’s been a menace defensively, the issue has been foul trouble. He’s averaging 5.5 fouls per game and needs to find a way to stay on the floor. When he does, he’s an elite level defender and rebounder reminiscent of Dennis Rodman.