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Alvin Gentry makes intriguing statement about Zion Williamson’s availability in opener

Pelicans, Alvin Gentry, Zion Williamson

Despite their mission to break into the Top 8 in the Western Conference, New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry is still taking the cautious approach with his super rookie Zion Williamson.

The top overall pick of the 2019 Draft just returned to the bubble in Orlando, Florida last week after leaving to deal with a family emergency.

While the Duke alum already cleared his mandatory quarantine and joined the team practice on Tuesday, Gentry said it’s still up to the Pelicans’ medical staff if he will be cleared to play in their bubble opener versus the Utah Jazz on July 30.

 

“Our goal is to make the playoffs but we’re not going to do anything ridiculous. We’re not going to make crazy decisions, ” Alvin Gentry said of Williamson’s status after Tuesday’s practice, per Ben Golliver of the Washington Post.

The Pelicans (28-36) are currently 10th in the stacked Western Conference, but they are just 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies (32-33).

Fans and pundits alike are excited to see the two Rookie of the Year front runners — Zion Williamson and Grizzlies young star Ja Morant — try and contend for that eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

New Orleans has been extremely patient with Williamson ever since he injured his knee in the preseason. The team was in no rush to bring him back from injury and only cleared him to play last January.

Williamson has, indeed, been a godsend to the Pelicans in the post-Anthony Davis era, giving the team a huge lift upon his return. In 19 games before the NBA hiatus, the 6-foot-6 high flyer tallied 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists.