4 bold predictions for New Orleans Pelicans entering 2020-21 NBA season

Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama, 2020 NBA Mock Draft
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Kira Lewis Jr. Replaces Lonzo Ball Midseason As Starting Point Guard

Not only is Kira Lewis Jr. an explosive, offensive-minded guard, but he is a great playmaker and was a fantastic pick for the Pelicans at 13th overall in this past year’s draft. Whether it is being able to shoot off-the-dribble or get to the rim, Kira Lewis Jr. seems to have all the skills on the offensive end of the court to be a very solid player in today’s NBA.

Last year at Alabama, Kira Lewis Jr. averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and shot 45.9% from the floor was their main offensive weapon. The high-motor point guard will excel in the NBA at getting the ball out quickly in transition and being able to dictate the tempo on the court, something the Pelicans will have a lot of success doing as a team given their athletic abilities at all five positions. 

Whereas Lonzo Ball is more of a distributor than a scorer, Kira Lewis Jr. brings the best of both worlds for the Pelicans and is a more overall athletic talent than the likes of Lonzo Ball. If you play defense too close to him, Lewis will fly right by to the rim, but if you give him some space, he will have no problem pulling up from deep and knocking down a three.

There are two main reasons Kira Lewis Jr. is destined to take over the starting point guard position for the Pelicans this year, one of them being because of Lonzo Ball’s decline in production over the course of last season and his lack of effort in the NBA Bubble. The Pelicans had an outside shot at making the playoffs via the play-in game when they got to the bubble and it seemed like Lonzo Ball could not be bothered to play

After averaging 11.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 7.0 assists and shooting 40.3% from the floor over the course of last season, Ball only averaged 7.1 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists and shot just over 30% from the floor in the NBA Bubble. Not to mention, he turned the ball over 3 times per game on average. When it mattered most, Lonzo Ball did not show up and as a result, could not only see his minutes dwindle down near the start of this year, but his time in New Orleans could be numbered. 

With the addition of veteran point guard Eric Bledsoe this year as well, the Pelicans have three legit point guard options and while they may keep all three at the beginning of the year to create competition, it is likely that someone will be the odd-man-out in this situation and all indications are pointing towards Lonzo Ball being the one. 

Kira Lewis Jr. should have a fantastic season for the New Orleans Pelicans and is the future point guard of this organization. Not only will he help make the Pelicans one of the fastest teams in the entire league, but make them a lethal transition scoring team that is extremely hard to stop in the open court. 

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Brett Siegel joined NBA Analysis Network as a NBA Insider in 2020. For all up-to-date NBA news, stats and info, and any inquiries, be sure to follow him on Twitter @BrettSiegelNBA.