It wasn't a great final day of the season for the New Orleans Pelicans, or for their star forward Zion Williamson. With a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the Pelicans would've clinched the 6th seed in the Western Conference and assured themselves a spot in the NBA Playoffs. However, the Lakers had other plans. Behind a pair of spectacular performances from both LeBron James (28 points, 11 rebounds, 17 assists) and former Pelican Anthony Davis (30 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists), the Lakers stormed to a 124-108 win, knocking the Pelicans into the Play-In Tournament and setting up a rematch in New Orleans on Tuesday night.

In the aftermath of all fifteen games on Sunday afternoon, Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo, as they do every Sunday on the Bill Simmons Podcast, hit on some of the key storylines around the league, one of which was figuring out which fifteen players would make each of their All-NBA Teams. When breaking down Zion Williamson's All-NBA candidacy, Simmons discussed how Sunday's game versus the Lakers served as proof that for as great as Zion has been this season, he's not an All-NBA performer just yet.

“Zion has to be mentioned. I never was seriously thinking about putting him there, but you know Zion’s played the most minutes he’s ever played. Really came on second half of the year to the point that he felt like a force. But then you watch a game like tonight and LeBron kicked his ass. He’s not ready to be a Top 15 guy yet, but there’s flashes.”

So, a few things here:

First, to put it simply, Zion Williamson wasn't one of the fifteen best players in the NBA this year. This isn't meant to be a shot at Zion, nor is it a forecast of what the remainder of his career will look like. There's certainly a world where, even as soon as next season, Zion Williamson puts himself on the map as one of the dozen or so best players in the league. Instead, it's just an honest evaluation of the incredible amount of talent in the league. This is arguably the deepest that the NBA has been in the last three decades, and stating that Zion wasn't one of the fifteen best players in the NBA this year shouldn't be considered a knock on him.

Second, Bill Simmons went out of his way to praise Zion, commending him for topping the 2,000 minute mark this season and calling him “a force” while noting just how good he's been over the second half of the season. In 26 games since the All-Star Break, Zion averaged 23.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. But understandably, two high profile beatdowns at the hands of the Los Angeles Lakers have put a damper on what has otherwise been a standout season for the 23-year-old do-everything forward.

On Sunday, Zion finished with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists in a sixteen point loss to LeBron James and the Lakers. Back in December, the results were even grislier. The Pelicans lost 133-89 to LA in Las Vegas, and Zion looked like he'd rather be anywhere else on the Vegas strip than inside of T-Mobile Arena.

Tuesday's game against the Lakers will give Zion the chance to win on a big NBA stage for the first time. When the Pelicans made the Playoffs two years ago, Zion had sat for the entire season and missed out on the postseason run. But with a win against the Lakers, he'll get his shot at a taste of Playoff basketball.