There has been a lot of hype and media coverage surrounding the 2019 number one pick Zion Williamson. When the Pelicans won the draft lottery back in May, it was clear that Zion would be their pick. It is first-time they had won the lottery since 2012 when they drafted Anthony Davis of University of Kentucky.
A month later the Pelicans would ship Davis to Los Angeles for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Pelicans have agreed to a deal to trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and three first-round picks – including the No. 4 overall in 2019 Draft, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2019
Other reports were stating that the Pelicans received the 4th pick (De’Andre Hunter) in this year’s draft and will be headed to the Atlanta Hawks. They also received a top-eight protected pick in 2021 (which becomes unprotected in 2022 if it does not convey), the right to swap first-round picks with the Lakers in 2023, and an unprotected 2024 first-round pick that New Orleans can defer to 2025.
There was again a lot of hype heading into Zion’s first summer league game against his former Duke running mate RJ Barrett, who was drafted third by the New York Knicks. The two were college roommates at Duke would be facing each other for the first time as opponents in the NBA. Unfortunately, for Zion, he would exit the game in the first half after suffering knee to knee contact with an opposing player from the Knicks per CBS Sports. The Pelicans would later release a statement that Williamson would be out for the remainder of the Summer League with a bruised left knee according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
Zion Williamson is done for Summer League. Statement from the Pelicans: pic.twitter.com/52fwVuyxr1
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 6, 2019
In a recent interview with former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas, the former Wizard stated he was disappointed in the Pelicans decision to play Williamson at the center position during summer league when that is not his natural position. He also shared his expectation for Zion during his rookie season.
It depends on where they play him. I watched NBA summer league and I was very disappointed in the Pelicans decision. You started this man, who is 6’7 at the center position to give the illusion that he is going to be dominated. When I say illusion, the illusion is I have a 6’7 guard and going play him against the center in order to beat his opponent off the dribble to get dunks. Once, he starts getting dunks everyone is going to say, yeah Zion, but that’s not his position. His position in terms of the NBA is either the two or the three. He is pushing it at the three, but the two is his game for sure.
He doesn’t need to learn how to shoot this year because he is going to develop it. If he gets down to 230, you have another shooting guard that is coming into this league. Playing him at the power forward and the center position is his diet would be out of control and he would be a ball if he plays out of position. If you saw Summer League, centers were blocking his shots and when the center wasn’t there, he was able to drive and get dunks.
The whole NBA is that tall and professional. It is not about your young kids coming in and it all depends on where they put him at. He could play at the power forward and be a bust, or they can put him at the shooting guard position or the three and he turns into the next G.O.A.T.
Zion only played nine minutes before leaving with his injury, but he scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field and three rebounds for the Pelicans. As for Barrett, he finished with 10 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes for the Knicks.