Who needs Zion? Pelicans get strong showings from Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker

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LAS VEGAS — Zion Williamson was sitting on the bench Monday night in a buttoned-up Pelicans shirt, cheering on teammates and having a good time not playing. And he will not be playing the rest of Summer League.

But while the cameras and microphones were pointed at Zion — and him saying “it was more precautionary” — the Pelicans other first-round picks were putting on a show.

Jaxson Hayes, the athletic center out of Texas taken No. 8 by New Orleans, dunked his way to 28 points and brought the house down with the best dunk of Summer League (so far). Sorry Mychal Mulder.

Then there was Nickeil Alexander-Walker, the guard out of Virginia Tech, taken No. 17. He impressed in his Summer League debut with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting (3-of-6 from three), 8 assists, and 3 steals.

One Summer League game does not a season make, but this is a reminder the Pelicans are going to be fun this season outside of what Zion Williamson can do. They may even be a playoff team (if a lot of things go right, the West is deep), but make it or not New Orleans will be entertaining along the way.