The real Zion has yet to emerge
Fully recovered, he could help the Pelicans sweep the West
BY DAVID THORPE
If you haven’t seen the on-court interview of Zion Williamson following the Pelicans’ 112-91 thrashing of the Clippers this past weekend, here’s what you missed:
What do you think stands out most to me? If you said, “‘We’re brothers on and off the court,’” give yourself a gold star.
That’s a far cry from where Zion was a year ago: Rehabbing away from his team, he was reportedly experiencing some dark times. That’s what happens when you take the game away from players who love it: They experience a loss of joy.
Not only is Zion back playing—and playing with joy—he’s also energized by this Pelicans squad. And guess what? So am I. The Pelicans are the sexiest team in the league right now, and for good reason: Sunday's Clippers-Pelicans contest could easily be a preview of this year’s Western Conference Finals.
It’s a lot of excitement from a first-week matchup, but I have to say: Every time I watch Zion play, that’s what I get—excited. What does a healthy Zion bring to an already excellent Pelicans team? The tangibles are obvious. But what about the intangibles? How about heft?
Could we see my dream matchup of unstoppable forces in the NBA Finals: Giannis versus Zion?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s take a closer look at Zion’s impact this weekend. The joy is there, but there are still some wrinkles to iron out and some long-term concerns to weigh. Then, we’ll break down what’s going right for the Pelicans and profile some peripheral players who will be instrumental in maintaining their current success.
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