This pivot has been made possible in part because of the adaptability of point guard Lonzo Ball, who has comfortably transitioned to an off-ball role and is having a career-best season. Ball has shown an ability to function as a spot-up shooter while also working with Williamson in the two-man game.
Fostering a partnership between Williamson and Ball, who are 20 and 23, respectively, is an intriguing proposition alongside one-time All-Star Brandon Ingram, also 23. But this group might not get the chance to develop into New Orleans' version of a big three.
"I'm just comfortable here," Ball said on March 31. "I also love playing with [Williamson] and [Ingram]. We have a lot of young guys. I think we can be good in the time coming."
But Ball's future in New Orleans past this season is in doubt.
Ball was involved in trade discussions with several teams before last month's trade deadline, with the LA Clippers, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets and Atlanta Hawks among the teams showing interest, sources said. Some executives came away from those talks with the belief that Ball might be available in a sign-and-trade in the offseason as a restricted free agent.