Breaking news from the #NBABubble!
Zion Williamson update: pic.twitter.com/eShAPl1gB2
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) July 16, 2020
The NBA’s rookie phenom had top depart for an “urgent family matter.”
Of course, we hope whatever family matter prompted his departure resolves quickly and positively.
However, we do not know what the timetable is for his return. This matter couple be resolved in a week or a few days. At this point, it is all speculation outside the Pelicans facility and Zion’s family.
On the basketball side, a secondary concern but one sports sites will need to look at, this is a setback that could cost the playoffs for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans have one of the easiest schedules left in the NBA, and sit just outside the final Western playoff seed.
Zion is GOOD
Since Zion arrived back from injury he has transformed this franchise.
The Pelicans have been playing great ball and looked poised to break out even more if they got more playing time.
Of course, then the world flipped upside down with COVID.
The talented but extremely young squad, with stars like Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Jrue Holiday, really did look the part of a usurper. They never got the chance to fully coalesce due to the virus and subsequent shutdown. Even since the return, Zion has only been on hand for a few practices.
Zion had forced his way into the ROY conversation on sheer dominant play, despite the stellar season from fellow rookie sensation Ja Morant.
The hyper efficient and energetic play from Zion set him apart. While he almost certainly wouldn’t have caught Ja due t the lack of games, he is clearly something special.
Zion’s lines as it stands: 24-7-2 on 59% shooting. Insane!
Where Does NOLA Go From Here?
This is not great from a Pelicans perspective.
Zion at minimum will have to quarantine for 4 days upon his return, and if he misses daily testing we are looking at ten.
This is a significant time that could not only cost games, but will eliminate any practice time to knock off rust and build chemistry with teammates.
This Pelicans squad looks much different (worse) without Zion.
The playoffs are in serious peril without Williams.
While this is such a young team and it isn’t like they are wasting prime, you always want to give young player experience. There is no replacement for experiencing playoff basketball.
Basketball is a trivial matter compared to the health of family. If anything, the current crisis has highlighted what is important.
While the basketball aspect is a bummer, as Zion plays with a zeal and is a joy to watch for all, we really hope his family matter works out okay.
There were also reports that Zion may not have been 100% either way going into the bubble, per Shams.
We can always wait a little longer for the full Zion experience.
Stay safe out there!
-Brent Buckley (@bigbucksbuckley on twitter)