The New Orleans Pelicans lucked out and won the NBA Draft lottery and landed Zion Williamson, who is the most anticipated rookie since LeBron James.
The one way to instantly kickstart a franchise after losing a franchise player like Anthony Davis? Get lucky, move up in the NBA Draft lottery and draft none other than Zion Williamson. That is what the New Orleans Pelicans did.
Zion Williamson is the most anticipated rookie since LeBron James was making headlines in high school. Williamson is already one of the biggest stars in all of the NBA and he has not even played a single minute in the NBA.
Zion is just the figurehead in what has turned into a very promising time for the New Orleans Pelicans. Most teams would just completely collapse after losing a star like Davis and it appears as if the Pelicans might actually be better in the long-term.
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Not only do the Pelicans have Zion but they have Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker, all promising young players with a lot of potential. Throw in Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick and it is apparent how talented the Pelicans are.
But it is all still going to revolve around Zion Williamson, who has been touted as an unbustable player. Zion is so mature, so physical and has the skill set to succeed right away. There is going to be no such thing as a learning curve from Zion.
With that in mind, we can easily draw a comparison to a current all-star’s rookie season. No, it isn’t LeBron, as the two players are different despite the hype for them being the same. The current all-star whose rookie year that Zion will replicate is Blake Griffin.
Pelican fans hope that Zion has a higher ceiling than Griffin, who is a six-time all-star and five-time All-NBA member. As great as Griffin is, he is not in that elite top-seven class that fans hope Zion will be in. But in terms of a rookie year, Griffin’s is the place to start.
After missing what would have been his true rookie year with an injury, Blake Griffin came to play during the 2010-2011 season and put together one of the more impressive rookie years of this millennium.
Griffin averaged 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game in his rookie season. Zion should absolutely score around 23 a game, will probably rebound less than 12.8 per game and can easily record three-four assists per game with how often the ball will be in his hand.
The most compelling part about this comparison is the way that rookie-year Griffin played compared to Zion. Griffin was a menace at the rim and was known for his thunderous throwdowns before transitioning more into a stretch four late in his career.
Zion put together quite the highlight reel in college with his thunderous throwdowns and chances are that it will happen again in the NBA. Griffin finished with 214 dunks in his rookie season and it should be a lock that Zion finished with at least 200.
I think we will see Zion average around 23 points, nine rebounds, 3.5 assists with those 200 dunks. His impact on the team will be similar to Griffin’s, as he will be on the receiving end of a lot lobs from Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday.
We all remember how exciting it was when Blake Griffin came into the league nine years ago. We will have that exact same feeling about Zion Williamson.