After the New Orleans Pelicans won the Zion-sweepstakes last night, rumors about what they’ll do with the pick and how Zion will respond were flying around the Internet similar to way Williamson flies when he is on the court.
“What happens if Zion pulls a 2004 Eli Manning and says tomorrow, ‘Sorry, I’m not going to New Orleans, I’m never playing there, I want to go to the Knicks or Hawks?’,” Bill Simmons tweeted.
Zion was promptly lead out of the lottery room after the final results came in.
“Zion Williamson was QUICKLY whisked out of the room after Pelicans were announced the winner of the draft lottery. Source said the former Duke star was rooting to go to New York, but now is going to New Orleans,” Mark Spears, an ESPN NBA writer tweeted.
It is true, Zion did not look too thrilled when New Orleans was announced as the number one pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Whether New Orleans holds onto the Duke superstar, or they trade the pick and he ends up in New York or Los Angeles, Zion will most likely be on a team that has some work to do in order to contend for an NBA championship.
What About Duke?
Brian Windhorst shared some interesting commentary on ESPN’s The Jump Wednesday.
“He does have some options,” Windhorst says. “He has not signed with an agent, and has not signed a shoe deal yet. He could threaten to go back to Duke, I’m not saying he would go back to Duke, but he could threaten to go back to Duke.”
I’m sure the speculation alone is making Mike Krzyzewski smile and giving Pelicans VP David Griffin Kevin Durant levels of paranoia, but Windhorst does make some interesting points.
Under the new rules, players who have declared for the NBA can back out ten days prior to the draft, even if they have hired an agent.
Windhorst added that people close to him have told him this isn’t something Zion would do. But, if Zion wanted to use his mass amounts of talent to leverage where he could play his rookie year, he certainly could.
Richard Jefferson, the former New Jersey Nets player, offered a solid retort to all of the “Zion only wants to play for New York or Los Angeles” rumors, citing the success of Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James.
“Look at what Giannis has done in Milwaukee. If you look at what LeBron James has – built a billion dollar industry through Ohio. Tim Duncan. There’s too many great players that have done it in smaller market franchises,” Jefferson said. “I just think that he is going to be better served going to where he’s going to play, being the best version of himself and that will take care of everything.”
Wherever Zion ends up there is one thing that is true, he is going to fill the seats and make a lot of people a large amount of money, including himself. I mean just check out The New Orleans Pelicans’ ticket office just moments after they found out they got the number one pick.