From “dumpster fire” to “circus,” the Pelicans are making progress.
No. 1 pick Zion Williamson will make his NBA debut against the Spurs tomorrow.
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN:
“One, it’s going to be a circus and everyone knows that,” Gentry said. “What we have to do is focus on the task at hand and that is playing a really good San Antonio team … It is going to be good to get him out there. I think the big thing for us is we just need to get him out there so all of this goes away and then we can start to figure out rotations and how we are going to play and things we are going to do.
Gentry is right. The game has already been moved to national television, and a wide audience is eager to see Williamson. Better to embrace the magnitude of this game rather than pretending there isn’t more attention. The Pelicans should be prepared for the chaos.
With his his size, athleticism and skill, Williamson is such a distinctive player. That presents challenges in determining how to use him and which players fit best with him. The Pelicans have missed a lot of valuable time to make those assessments. It’s on Gentry to hit the ground running with those decisions, even amid all the surrounding spectacle.