Austin Rivers says Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson have been better than LeBron James and Anthony Davis

David Akerman
3 Min Read
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans are set to face off against one another on Thursday with a spot in the In-Season Tournament title game on the line.

Ahead of that contest, former NBA player Austin Rivers said that Pelicans duo Brandon Ingram and Zion Williams has been better than Lakers duo LeBron James and Anthony Davis this season.

“It’s a good question ’cause we’ve seen both have their moments,” Rivers said after being asked which duo has been better this season. “Imma go with the youth, man. I’m going with Zion and Ingram, especially as of late. Zion, his biggest thing, has always been health. That’s been his biggest issue. When this guy’s on the floor, man, there is nobody physically in the NBA that can guard him. He’s a matchup nightmare. … Zion’s gotta go through A.D.’s chest. That’s gotta be — every single time. He’s gotta play that physical inside, out, and I would like A.D. to do the same thing.”

The duos don’t get compared all that often, with Davis and James generally dominating headlines. The two won a title together on the Lakers back in 2020 and made the Western Conference Finals last season.

In the 2023-24 campaign, Davis is averaging 23.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and a league-leading 2.8 blocks per game while knocking down 53.4 percent of his shots from the field. James is recording 24.7 points, 7.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game on 54.6 percent shooting from the field and 38.7 percent shooting from deep.

Ingram is averaging 23.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while making 49.9 percent of his field-goal attempts. Williamson, who is arguably the healthiest he’s been since joining the league, is recording 22.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game on 56.9 percent shooting from the field.

Los Angeles is in fifth place in the Western Conference with a 13-9 record, while the Pelicans sit in eight place with a 12-10 record.

Thursday’s game will surely be hotly contested, especially since it’s the first time the Lakers and Pelicans are playing each other this season. They have three other regular season matchups scheduled.

It seems like the Pelicans have been getting a decent amount of love from the NBA world recently. In fact, a league source pegged them as the squad that could challenge the Denver Nuggets for top team in the West.

Perhaps James and Davis will use Rivers’ words as motivation, though they likely are already locked in and hoping to get a shot at some new hardware.

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David is a University of Maryland graduate who has spent most of his life in Miami. He has experience in writing, editing and video production. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.