Zion Williamson joined Pelicans owner Gayle Benson, coach Alvin Gentry, and Swin Cash for the opening of a refurbished basketball court in New Orleans on Saturday. So much strikes me about the Pelicans current situation. The following adds to this:
Williamson just arrived Friday afternoon in New Orleans, after the draft, barely having time to settle in to his new NBA home. However, he noted that at one point it began to hit him that the Crescent City is where he’ll get to launch his pro career.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “I was in my hotel room and looked out the window at the balcony and was like, ‘This is my home. I’m ready to stay here.’ ”
In a matter of months, the Pelicans have gone from a team who’s GM didn’t have a bright future (Dell Demps was fired late last season) and who’s star player didn’t want to be in New Orleans anymore to what appears to be a substantial upgrade in the front office and the new star player saying, “I’m ready to stay here”.
So much of this summer for the Pels has felt like a rebirth. It’s rare a team can trade its star player away and actually be in a better spot, yet that’s where the Pelicans seem to be. They’re a team full of young athletic talent combined with a coach who’s game plan could maximize that talent. Nothing with their current setup feels forced, in which everything was forced during the Anthony Davis era.
I’m really looking forward to Summer League this year, which begins July 5 when New Orleans matches up against Zion’s former Duke teammate RJ Barrett and the New York Knicks. It should be a treat.