For the first time in more than a year, fans will be in attendance at a Celtics’ home game when they face the Pelicans at TD Garden. Those 2,235 lucky fans will get to see four of the best young players in the sport.
Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans along with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown of the Celtics are not only four of the best young players in the league but are already all-stars. Tatum, Brown, and Williamson all
participated in this year’s all-star game while Ingram was chosen last season.
The combined age of this foursome is 90 years old. Brown is 24, Tatum and Ingram 23, while Zion is only 20.
It’s not a surprise that this quartet is performing at this high level. Brown and Tatum were the 3rd overall picks in the 2016 and 2017 drafts respectively. Ingram was selected one slot ahead of Brown in 2016 while Williamson was chosen number one overall in 2020.
My point of this exercise will be to determine which duo you would take going forward. Something I put forth on a recent Twitter poll. Since I have more followers from “Celtic Nation” than “Pelican Nation”, it was not a surprise that the Celtics duo won. However, the margin of 73% to 27% shocked me.
Tatum and Brown are averaging a combined 49.6 points, 12.4 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game while shooting 48% from the field and 38% on 3 pointers.
Zion and Ingram are producing 50.1 points, 12 rebounds, and 8.1 assists per game while shooting 54% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc.
As you can see, the numbers are nearly identical.
There are a few reasons why I would take the Pelicans’ pair.
First, Williamson and Ingram are a combined 43 years of age compared to Brown and Tatum at 47. That leads me to believe that the Pelicans’ duo has more growth potential.
Secondly, ranking the players independently, I would put Zion at the top followed by Tatum, Brown and Ingram. Although Brown and Ingram, both in their fifth seasons, are essentially interchangeable. Generally, when making this type of comparison, I’ll take the best player in the discussion, and that player is Zion Williamson.
Thirdly, I believe that Zion will someday be the face of the N.B.A. which lends itself to being a great recruiter for potential free-agents.
This is a viable point/counterpoint debate. The poll should have resulted in a near 50/50 split. Not 73% to 27%.
My takeaway is, I need to get more New Orleans Pelicans fans following me on Twitter.
John Sapochetti is co-host of three podcasts heard on Full Press Radio:
-The Pick & Roll NBA Podcast With Jet & Sap
-The Sap & Kat Show
-The Get Off My Lawn Podcast With Keegan & Sap
Follow him On Twitter