But while things looked like “doomsday” earlier this year when Davis requested a trade, the Pelicans have rebounded rather nicely. Of course, winning the draft lottery helped, but suddenly, New Orleans’ outlook doesn’t look all that terrible.
While the Pelicans obviously have a long way to go, new general manager David Griffin has done a fine job of assembling young talent to at least keep the team interesting… and possibly achieve a lot more.
So, here are the three biggest takeaways of the offseason for New Orleans:
3. David Griffin Knows What He’s Doing
Why the Cleveland Cavaliers parted with Griffin during the summer of 2017 is anyone’s guess, especially considering that it came after three straight Finals appearances and a championship in 2016.
Nevertheless, Griffin did a really fine job with the cash-strapped Cavaliers, finding a way to put capable talent around LeBron James to help Cleveland win a title.
Now, Griffin is in New Orleans, and he already looks better than Dell Demps ever did.
While the return for Davis may not have been extraordinary (the jury is still out on just how good Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are as prospects), it is the best deal the Pelicans could have gotten under the circumstances. Plus, veteran additions Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick will provide some much-needed leadership.
The Pels are in good hands with Griffin.
2. They’ll be Fun to Watch
The Pelicans won’t be all that good next season, but at the very least, they’ll be fun to watch.
Williamson-Ball is certainly an intriguing (if not odd) duo, and it will be interesting to see how Ingram performs in his new surroundings. Plus, we always have LaVar lurking in the background.
Another reason why the Pelicans will be entertaining is the influence they may end up having at the trade deadline. Jrue Holiday is a candidate to be dealt, and who knows if New Orleans will actually hang onto Redick and/or Favors past February.
I’m not saying the Pelicans are going to be at the top of any NBA League Pass rankings, but they at least won’t be the miserable, depressing mess they were this past year.
1. This is Zion’s Team
Williamson may have just turned 19 years old earlier this month, but the Pelicans are already his team.
Make no mistake about it: every move New Orleans makes from this point forward will be with the idea of building around Zion, and there are certainly worse positions in which to find oneself.
We still don’t know what type of NBA player Williamson will become. His weight could end up being an issue, and his lack of refinement is somewhat concerning.
But it’s also hard to overlook Williamson’s insane natural athletic ability. If he is able to stay in shape (which is looking like a task in and of itself) and develops a reliable jumper, he could be special. The Pelicans could end up being really good in a few years.