The Big Easy is the next stop in our season preview as we take a look at what Zion Williamson and company have been up to. It was a busy off-season for the team as the Jrue Holiday sweepstakes heated up and finally boiled over. How will this team look with a new spin on last year’s roster? Pretty good it seems.
The first order of business for the Pelicans this off-season was Jrue Holiday. It seemed evident he was going to get traded and it finally happened. The market was competitive for the former All-Star and it showed in the haul of draft picks the Pelicans were able to get. New Orleans was able to extract several first-round selections from Milwaukee along with Eric Bledsoe for Holiday. None of those picks will end up all that valuable due to the resigning of Giannis, but having all those picks will be helpful. Getting a solid player in Eric Bledsoe in the deal as well shouldn’t go overlooked. He’s been a productive player throughout his career who could get flipped for something of substance.
After Jrue came the draft. New Orleans ended up with the 13th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and made an interesting selection. The team decided to go with the guard from Alabama, Kira Lewis Jr.. Something interesting to note is that both Bledsoe and Lewis Jr. are from Birmingham, Alabama. As far as Kira’s game is concerned, he’s quick and creative on offense. He was the fastest player in the draft and that should lead to plenty of fast break chances between he, Lonzo, and Zion. Speaking of Lonzo, I wonder how he will fit next to Kira. Lewis Jr. isn’t a pure point, but with Brandon Ingram’s development as a ball handler, there could be an issue of touches somewhere down the line.
After the draft, things got quiet across the league. In New Orleans, things remained upbeat and busy. The team thought there was still work to be done and decided to make a couple more moves. The big one was acquiring long-time Thunder center Steven Adams. It has been long rumored David Griffin, the Pelicans GM, loves Adams. I think it was affirmed by him going out and trading for him and then signing Steven to an extension. Adams and Zion together will be questionable in my opinion. Neither spaces the floor, which could clog the lane for Ingram and Lonzo. Maybe it works. Adams has always found ways to be productive and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he did it again.
Some see this team as a playoff team while others don’t. It all really comes down to how good Zion is. His season was a tale of two halves last year as he came out guns akimbo at the beginning then tailed off in the bubble. Injuries were an obvious reason his season was so inconsistent, but that is what raises all the questions. Can Zion overcome the injuries? He’s apparently lost close to 20 pounds and feels great. I’ll believe it when I see it.