The lottery heard around the world on Tuesday night brought the excitement out of the New Orleans Pelicans fans when the days seemed dark.
In the midst of veteran star Anthony Davis inevitably on his way out, all talk of an Anthony Davis trade surrounded around one name in particular, Zion Williamson. At 6’7 283 lbs. the guy is an absolute unit and the undoubted 1st overall pick of the NBA draft.
With just a 6% chance of obtaining the number one pick, the Pelicans heard their name called Tuesday night. The Greater New Orleans area exploded! In a matter of hours, they scored north of 3,000 season tickets sold.
For the first time in a long time, business is picking up with the Pelicans. I am normally the guy who takes the shots at New Orleans sports when warranted simply because most local reporters blow sunshine and rainbows. I call it like I see it because I can. I don’t get excited and try to polish a turd and call it something else when they sign guys like Elfrid Peyton and Solomon Hill. These aren’t game changers. They’re hardly role players.
All that being said, be excited right now if you are a Pelicans fan. You just landed Zion freaking Williamson. Ignore the noise of people allegedly claiming he may go back to Duke.
Not now. Not ever.
Him going back to Duke would mean a multitude of negative impacts. He loses out on big time money right now. He loses out on getting an ever bigger contract sooner. He could get hurt. Ultimately, his high character reputation is now finished.
Part of that narrative stems from the recent history of the Pelicans incompetence as an organization. But one of my buddies said it best…
“Everybody is comparing the franchise to the old franchise. It ain’t that anymore. (David) Griffin is one of the most respected executives. (Gayle) Benson is giving him a healthy scouting budget and they hired the best trainer in the league. The Pelicans are a real franchise now despite what their earned reputation is.”
Of course he hasn’t played a single minute in the NBA so that means he could be a total disaster, but the idea of getting the best prospect since LeBron James has to be exciting. Pelicans fans, rejoice. I don’t consider myself a Pelicans fan as much as I do just a basketball fan. As a basketball fan, Zion makes me want to go to games.
That leaves us with the biggest question mark in all of this…
What the hell happens to Anthony Davis?
I am not sure exactly where he ends up or who gives up what, but the ball is now in the Pelicans court. They won’t have to trade him away for the number one pick because they already have it.
Of course now that the Pels have landed Zion, there is hope that they can convince him to stay. This is part of the sunshine and rainbows I talk about. After everything has spiraled the way it is, the fans have voted. You can’t bring him back if you really want a great shot to build something.
First, you have to convince him which doesn’t seem to be happening.
Second, you have to convince the fans to want him again. Every time he steps on the court and plays bad, you’re going to hear boos in the arena.
The Pels have the upper hand landing Zion, but my biggest concern is what can you get for Davis that will be worth it?
This has been the favorite destination from fans and swirling around the rumor mil. I am torn on it at this point. If they trade with Boston, Jayson Tatum ABSOLUTELY has to be involved in the deal. With Kyrie’s future uncertain, I would hope Boston isn’t dumb enough to make that deal after everything they have built. Maybe they are and maybe they will and Tatum would be a huge uplift for the Pels.
The two names floating around for a possible deal in addition to picks are Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. Now the Raptors won’t have any 1st rounders with much value (meaning early 1st) because with Davis and Kawhi (if he signs long term) would be nowhere near the lottery. I like both players, but not having draft assets to back it seems risky.
Los Angeles Lakers
They own the number 4 pick which is great but the Pels would miss out on RJ Barrett or Ja Morant. That pick would absolutely be involved along with Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. Meh.
The Grizzlies want to dump a bad Mike Conley contract, maybe the Pels can finagle a 3-team trade which lands them the 2nd pick and they can draft Morant. This is obviously a pipe-dream and highly unlikely. Memphis would be very short sighted and do it to give away number 2.
New York Knicks
No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. You get rights to the third pick. Unless Memphis passes on Morant and goes with Barrett, the Knicks have nothing else to give. I repeat. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No.
The deal would almost certainly include Jimmy Butler or Ben Simmons to be considerable, but I don’t foresee it happening. One point brought up with Simmons is the fact he is also represented by Rich Paul (Davis’ agent). Simmons would allow Jrue Holiday to slide down to the 2-guard where he thrives.
The name has been thrown around and if Devin Booker or DeAndre Ayton are on the table, you have to consider it. Phoenix got hammered getting the 6th overall pick with shared odds to be number one. Again, it is just another highly unlikely scenario.
Final Prediction for Davis
He is traded for Billy Hoyle, Scott Howard and a ham sandwich.
In all seriousness, I have been scratching my head trying to figure out where he goes. Although I would much rather be sitting in the Pels position with Zion, it is still a tough decision figuring out which team will give you the best option.
Either way, they still got Zion!