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Sport Opinion: Five issues facing the New Orleans Pelicans without rookie Zion Williamson

06:15  22 october  2019
06:15  22 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

'Not drinking that Kool-Aid': Pelicans' Alvin Gentry won't compare Zion Williamson to LeBron James

  'Not drinking that Kool-Aid': Pelicans' Alvin Gentry won't compare Zion Williamson to LeBron James 'Not drinking that Kool-Aid': Pelicans' Alvin Gentry won't compare Zion Williamson to LeBron James

Opinion : Five issues facing the New Orleans Pelicans without rookie Zion Williamson . Zion Williamson 's knee injury will sideline him for at least 20 games and is likely to have a season-long impact on the New Orleans Pelicans .

Zion Williamson , arguably the most highly-touted NBA rookie since LeBron James, will miss a significant part of the upcoming season. Williamson has dealt with a number of minor knee issues in the last 12 months. He lasted only eight minutes in this year’s summer league after a collision with an

It appeared the New Orleans Pelicans would enter the 2019-20 season worthy of throwing a party in a city known for Mardi Gras and its jazz festivals. Instead, the Pelicans are trying to clean up something potentially more messy than Bourbon Street.

a man sitting on a horse: Zion Williamson will be sidelined for six to eight weeks while he recovers from knee surgery. © Dale Zanine, USA TODAY Sports Zion Williamson will be sidelined for six to eight weeks while he recovers from knee surgery.

The Pelicans ruled out rookie Zion Williamson for six to eight weeks after having surgery on Monday to treat a torn lateral meniscus. Below are five issues the Pelicans face because of this development.

1.    The Pelicans’ playoff fortunes already appear bleak. Williamson will miss between 20 to 27 games. He could return as early as Dec. 3 against Dallas or as late as Dec. 17 against Brooklyn. Either way, the Pelicans could begin the season losing serious ground in the Western Conference standings.

Zion Williamson soars for multiple highlight dunks in preseason win

  Zion Williamson soars for multiple highlight dunks in preseason win The Pelicans' prized rookie Zion Williamson showed off a trio of superb dunks in a blowout win over the Hawks on Monday night.

Williamson , the New Orleans Pelicans big man, is known for his explosive dunks, but he also dealt with knee issues in college at Duke. The N.B.A.’s sobering October continued on Friday when the New Orleans Pelicans confirmed that their prized rookie , Zion Williamson , is out indefinitely

The New Orleans Pelicans issued a short statement that “forward Zion Williamson is listed as out with right knee soreness for the team’s final preseason game against the Knicks. He did not travel with the team to New York today and remained in New Orleans to undergo further testing and evaluatio

The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers will have star power to make a significant splash. The Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors all have continuity that could help them stay afloat. That could leave the Pelicans needing to spend the rest of the season playing catchup.  

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2.    The Pelicans might have to always handle Williamson with delicate care. As much as the Pelicans’ playoff fortunes might depend on Williamson’s play following his injury, New Orleans might want to already adopt a load-management program for the 19-year-old rookie.

Watch: Pelicans' Lonzo Ball connects with Zion Williamson on alley-oop

  Watch: Pelicans' Lonzo Ball connects with Zion Williamson on alley-oop This is something we’re going to see a whole lot over the next several seasons. The new-look New Orleans Pelicans, led by Lonzo Ball and rookie No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, putting up highlight-reel plays. © Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsThe Chicago Bulls found this out first-hand during their preseason game against Zion and Co. on Wednesday.Check out this perfect alley-oop from Ball to Williamson in transition early in the game.Lonzo to Zion for the emphatic flush. Good luck, NBA. pic.twitter.com/WMPoS9ra6q— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) October 10, 2019It’s honestly just a matter of time before Mt. Zion takes down a backboard.

Zion Lateef Williamson (born July 6, 2000) is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

When the New Orleans Pelicans leapfrogged six spots to land the No. 1-overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, they received the a golden ticket to selecting There are alternate realities that show different renditions of a New Orleans team built around Zion Williamson . One reality is a playoff-ready team

Williamson sprained his right knee during his freshman season at Duke after his right sneaker ripped through the seams. He played only eight minutes in his summer-league debut after bruising his left knee. And he sustained his current injury in the Pelicans' exhibition against San Antonio on Oct. 13. Even if this might hurt the Pelicans’ short-term success, New Orleans might benefit long-term.

3.   The young Pelicans have more pressure to develop quicker. It appeared fourth-year forward Brandon Ingram, third-year guard Lonzo Ball and third-year guard Josh Hart could develop more organically without the pressure to win in Los Angeles with LeBron James. It might be too early to compare Williamson to James’ stature. Yet, those three former Lakers players suddenly will face the same issues as they did on the Lakers after James injured his left groin in a Christmas Day matchup against the Warriors. While James eventually missed 27 games, the Lakers suddenly went from competing for a playoff spot to ping-pong balls in the draft lottery.

Lonzo, Zion connect on absurd alley-oop

  Lonzo, Zion connect on absurd alley-oop New Orleans Pelicans rookie No. 1 pick Zion Williamson has made several highlight-reel plays thus far during the preseason. © Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY SportsThat did not change Sunday afternoon against the San Antonio Spurs. Check out Mt. Zion throwing down an alley-oop on a pass from Lonzo Ball from beyond half court.Lonzo Ball to Zion three quarter court alley-oop. Just filthy. pic.twitter.com/55lW4tZLmR— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) October 13, 2019That’s just absurd from both Ball and Williamson. The two are going to be so much fun to watch once the regular season tips off.

The New Orleans Pelicans rookie underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus on Monday, an injury expected to keep him out of his first N.B.A Zion Williamson , arguably the most highly anticipated N.B.A. rookie since LeBron James, won’t play in his first regular season game until at least December

The Pelicans will be without Zion Williamson after he underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Noting the unfortunate news that Zion Williamson had, in fact, torn the meniscus in his right knee before ever playing a regular season game, it’s important to remember to take a deep breath, relax

4.  The Pelicans lost some buzz. Well before Williamson’s injury became official, the NBA scheduled the Pelicans to play on national TV in 11 of their first 20 games. The Pelicans had a sell-out crowd in Las Vegas for Williamson’s summer-league debut. New Orleans also reportedly sold more than 12,000 season-ticket equivalents shortly after drafting Williamson at No. 1. And now? Get ready for those ticket prices to drop on the open market.

5.  How will the Pelicans adjust their roster? Ingram will start in Williamson’s vacancy, while veteran J.J. Redick teams up with Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday. Derrick Favors will start at center. The good thing for Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry — he has overseen both small-ball and post-up oriented offenses throughout his extensive coaching career.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Mark Medina on Twitter @MarkG_Medina.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Five issues facing the New Orleans Pelicans without rookie Zion Williamson

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