Barring some unlikely outcomes—an inspiring protest that gets him out of New Orleans, a defiant but ultimately depressing return to the accursed NCAA—Zion Williamson will suit up for the Pelicans this fall. What will he do there?
One projection for Zion is: Draymond Green, only wearing a fanny pack instead of a backpack full of biology and trig textbooks, plus the collected Shakespeare. Basically, an explosive defensive menace with a shaky jumper and keen playmaking instincts. But Draymond Green enjoys world-historic spacing. The Pelicans don’t have any shooting and none of the presumptive Anthony Davis packages seem like they will supply much more. Zion might be working off Elfrid Payton, or Lonzo Ball, or (indulge me) Dennis Smith Jr. in a congested floor. Alvin Gentry is a good offensive coach who should get this team moving fast. Zion might finish efficiently in transition and get a decent diet of putbacks, but he’ll probably also brick from floater range until he refines his half-court game against superior athletes.
I think: 14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 combined steals + blocks, on 52/29/65 shooting. What do you think?