David Griffin reaffirms Pelicans as Jrue Holiday’s team
The New Orleans Pelicans are not quite ready to hand Zion Williamson the keys to the franchise as a rookie in the league, with executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin still sold on giving veteran star Jrue Holiday the reins for the time being, as he first said in his post-draft press conference.
Griffin argued that Williamson has tremendous pressure on his shoulders and is still growing as a player (and as a human), growing he will need to do before he can take on the load of team expectations:
“The thing about Zion, though, that excites us is, it’s not that he’s going to carry you offensively, it’s that he’s going to be able to facilitate offense,” Griffin told Jeff Duncan of The Athletic. “If you look at him as an extremely athletic Draymond Green type who may be able to facilitate all things for others and get out in transition and make plays… that’s exciting. And because that’s what he natively really does, we’re not going to ask him to carry an undue burden (offensively). We’re going to ask him to be Zion, to figure out how that player interfaces with the rest of the pieces we have and how it can be equative to winning. And because the only thing he cares about is winning and losing, I think it’s going to be a fairly natural transition. It’s just going to take some time to figure out exactly how profound his impact will be.
But again, we’re looking at this as Jrue Holiday’s team and we’re going to go as far as Jrue and our veterans take us.”
There is one huge caveat with Griffin’s quote. While Williamson has drawn a few comparisons to Draymond Green for his motor, rebounding and defensive tenacity, he hasn’t really shown the signs of being the facilitator Green is, either on the fast break or in a half-court set. Zion is a barreling-to-the-basket type of player, not really a court-vision player, at least not yet.
Regardless, he will have to take a back seat to Holiday for the time being until he gains some comfort in the league and can get the full grasp of what it takes to lead an NBA team. Judging by the expectations, it might not take all that long to see him claim that spot as the team leader.