The 2019-20 season starts off with the New Orleans Pelicans matched up with the reigning champ Toronto Raptors — but they’ll be without Zion Williamson. The main attraction will be missing as the 2019 draft’s first overall pick is out with a knee injury.
Williamson’s athletic prowess in college almost single-handedly propelled ratings numbers during his one-and-done season at Duke University under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. That kind of athletic prowess led to plenty of hype for his first official NBA game.
The 6-foot-7 forward was eagerly slated against the Raptors during Toronto’s ring ceremony at home. Instead, the Raptors are without Kawhi Leonard — their Finals MVP who signed with the Clippers as a free agent, — nd the Pelicans will be without their star rookie.
Williamson is going to miss six-to-eight weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on a torn meniscus in his right knee. As one of the most hyped athletes to enter the NBA, Zion’s absence is downright frustrating and anxiety-ridden for fans and spectators hoping that the heavy-set forward could remain healthy. Instead, it looks like Williamson will be plagued with lower body issues given his current frame and weight for the rest of his professional career.
With the league already on edge given the situation with China and Hong Kong, the beginning of the season — a time with previewing teams, players, and celebrating the end of months of no NBA — has shaped up to be incredibly depressing.
Fans and pundits should be focused on hyping up the offseason’s trend: dynamic duos forming.
Rather than feeling the enthusiasm to watch Russell Westbrook and James Harden back together, Leonard and Paul George in Los Angeles, or LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the lead-up to the start of the regular season has been riddled with controversies and now Zion’s upsetting injury.
Williamson’s injury brings back the old Philadelphia 76ers examples of sitting Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons at the beginning of their careers. It largely worked for the Sixers, with Simmons winning Rookie of the Year and Embiid eventually developing into an All-Star.
Should the Pelicans do the same thing with Williamson? Surely a six-to-eight week prognosis is better than a broken bone in a foot.
Nevertheless, it’s the kind of question that has been hurled in our faces due to Zion’s injury on the eve of the NBA’s regular season.
Off-the-court storylines have by and large dominated the NBA’s narratives for several years. But in this case, we want to see actual on-court production from one of the most anticipated players ever in Zion Williamson.