Pelicans Reporter: Zion's Game "A Little Unrefined"

It's a new era in New Orleans, but success might not come overnight – for Zion or the Pelicans

June 19, 2019 - 9:06 am
Zion Williamson Duke NBA Draft

USA Today Images


After trading Anthony Davis to Los Angeles, the New Orleans Pelicans are ready for a fresh start – and that fresh start will begin Thursday at the Barclays Center with the selection of Zion Williamson in the NBA Draft.

But will New Orleans find success with Zion? Or will it be Anthony Davis all over again?

“It’s a new era here because they’ve got a whole new front office and they’re trying to change the narrative about how the Pelicans are run, how they play, how committed people are to them and how they fit into the culture and fabric of New Orleans,” Associated Press Pelicans writer Brett Martel said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We’ll see how this works out. There’s a tremendous amount of optimism around the team right now, and the ticket office has been very busy. You can argue all you want about whether Anthony Davis is a better player than Zion Williamson will develop into, but it does seem like Zion has a certain charisma, more of an alpha-type personality that may resonate with the fans a little more.”

The Pelicans netted quite the haul for AD. Whether they trade any of those players – or the No. 4 pick – remains to be seen, but David Griffin has a lot of assets and flexibility at his disposal.

“I think they’re listening to offers but not necessarily in a hurry to move those guys,” Martel said. “I am curious to see what they do with the fourth pick. There’s a philosophy out there that when you have a lot of young guys on the team, they need to be surrounded by some veterans, people who know how to win. They have Jrue Holiday there, but if they’re not really in love with anybody after the top three picks, then they might be better off trading down or moving that pick and getting some kind of additional veteran presence to have around Zion and kind of speed his adjustment to the NBA.

“Because let’s face it: as fun as Zion was to watch in college, his game is still a little unrefined,” Martel continued. “He’s not really consistent from range, not great with both hands, and he’s got to refine that stuff. There’s probably going to be NBA defenses and some elite NBA defenders who are able to minimize or take away a lot of what he’s good at at the start of his career.”

Click below to listen to Martel’s interview in its entirety.