If Anthony Davis stays, how will Zion Williamson work with the NBA All-Star?
If you’re work for the New Orleans Pelicans or simply a fan, there’s a lot of reasons to be excited for the coming season.
That’s because unless something nuts happens at the NBA Draft or in the preseason, Zion Williamson will not return to Duke. In all likely scenarios, he’ll be wearing a New Orleans Pelicans jersey in late October 2019 when the NBA season starts.
That alone is enough to make any fan drunk with excitement, but there’s other reasons why one doesn’t have to be conservative with their expectations of the coming season.
That’s because with New Orleans, Zion won’t be playing with a team full of inexperienced rookies or young players looking to get theirs as he would had if the New York Knicks or Cleveland Cavs or Chicago Bulls got the first pick.
Experience Takes Pressure Off Williamson
No, at the very least, Zion will be teaming up with an experienced line-up of almost all-stars in severely-underrated point guard Jrue Holiday and all-star to be in Julius Randle. Both players have been on the verge of taking that next step and their numbers were good enough to be named NBA All-Stars in each of the last two seasons.
Jrue Holiday will be a great veteran point guard for Williamson to learn from. The constantly-probing, work-at-his-own-speed Holiday averaged 21.2 points, 7.7 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals while shooting .472 from the field. No doubt we’ll see a lot of Jrue-to-Zion alley-oops in the 2019-20 season.
Randle for his part is very similar to Zion in that they’re both undersized, left handed power forwards that use their size and strength to get to the basket. Both players can also handle the ball and lead the break when the opportunity arises.
Last season, Randle averaged 21.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and shot .524 from the field. With a front line that features both Randle and Williamson, teams are going to have their hands full with the linebacker forward duos.
That brings us to Anthony Davis. As we all know, Davis requested a trade out of New Orleans and even with Zion coming on board, the all-world forward would still like to get traded, but that’s up to New Orleans. That means there’s a good chance that Davis will be starting on opening day next to Zion.
In truncated minutes during the second half of the season, Davis still ended up with 25.9 points, 12 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.6 steals. That’s otherworldly numbers from one of the league’s biggest superstars.
If Zion lives up to some of his sky high expectations, a freakishly athletic front court of Williamson and Anthony Davis has the potential to be one for the ages.
Zion Will Benefit from Pelicans Stars
We won’t have to tell you how much Zion will benefit from having Randle, Holiday and Davis in the lineup. While teams put the majority of their focus on The Brow and Randle, this will allow Williamson to play as he did with Duke. Focus on smaller parts of the game while he learns the speed of the NBA. In that role we’re so used to seeing, he’ll gobble up offensive rebounds, run the break, pressure guards, provide excellent help defense and shoot the occasional jump shot when it presents itself.
Instead of being the focus of the opponents’ defensive scheme, the expectations of Zion will be relaxed as Holiday and Davis take the pressure off the #1 pick. That along with E’Twaun Moore providing space with his three-point shooting, a lineup of Davis, Randle, Zion, Moore and Holiday could yield a powerhouse of a Pelicans team with a season the franchise will always remember.