Pelicans should be very concerned about Zion Williamson
The New Orleans Pelicans got terrible news as Zion Williamson will not be ready for the season opener. Williamson broke his foot back in the summer but was initially expected to play in the opener. The young star has had an injury-riddled career thus far, which is a cause for concern.
The only knock on Williamson heading into the draft in 2019 was if he would be able to stay on the floor. Despite the injury questions, the Pelicans selected Williamson number one overall. When he’s healthy, Williamson is one of the most dominant players in the NBA. With that said, here is why the Pelicans should be very concerned about Zion Williamson.
Why the Pelicans should be concerned
Having your young star out with injury so often can be detrimental to a franchise. That’s what the Pelicans are currently dealing with, as Williamson can’t seem to stay on the floor. In his rookie season, Williamson was unable to play a majority of the games due to injury.
Williamson’s talent is undeniable, but it will be a risk of offering him a max contract in a few years with all these injuries. This also makes it hard to build a team around him as if he gets hurt, the team could struggle to pick up wins. Last season Williamson played in 61 games and averaged 27 points per game (Basketball Reference). It was a career year, and he was voted into his first All-Star game.
While it may not be the biggest concern, the Pelicans also need to worry about the management of his injury. It was reported in the offseason that Williamson was frustrated with how his injury was dealt with in his rookie campaign. If the Pelicans were to mismanage his injury again, he could think about moving to a new team when his contract is up.
How will the Pelicans perform with Zion Williamson out
The Pelicans haven’t made the playoffs since the 2017-18 season when they had Anthony Davis on the roster. They will now have to start the season without Williamson and rely on Brandon Ingram to carry the load. Ingram is a budding star that pairs well with Williamson. However, he has the ability to make an impact even with Williamson. In order to win games, Ingram and the role players will have to rally together and step up their play.
Last season, Ingram averaged 23.8 points per game along with 4.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists. He also shot 38.1 percent from behind the arc on 6.1 attempts per game (Basketball Reference). Look for Ingram to start off the season as the Pelicans’ top scorer while Zion Williamson is out with injury.
The Pelicans made a lot of changes in the offseason, including hiring a new head coach in Willie Green. They lost Lonzo Ball in free agency and failed to sign a big name like Kyle Lowry or Chris Paul. The Pelicans settled for signing Devonte Graham to be the point guard, who is a solid young talent. Heading into the offseason, the Pelicans had big expectations to surround Williamson with elite talent. Now, it appears that the Pelicans could miss the playoffs once again.
Look for the Pelicans to struggle at the start of the season with Williamson out. The Pelicans also need to be concerned about Zion Williamson as they move forward.