There was a lot of hype and media coverage around the number 1 in 2019, Zion Williamson. When the pelicans won the draft lottery in May, it was clear that Zion would be their choice. For the first time since 2012, when they designed Anthony Davis of the University of Kentucky, they won the lottery.
A month later, the Pelicans Davis would send to Los Angeles to bring Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three first-round picks per Adrian Wojnarowski from ESPN.
The Pelicans have agreed to swap Anthony Davis for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and three picks from the first round against Lakers.
– Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 15, 2019
Other reports said that in this year's draft, the pelicans have received the fourth election (De'Andre Hunter) and will travel to the Atlanta Hawks. They also received a top-eight guarded pick in 2021 (which will be unprotected in 2022, if not apparent), the right to swap the Lakers first-round picks in 2023 and an unprotected 2,024 first-round pick that New Orleans can move to 2025.
There was again much hype in Zion's first summer league game against former Duke running colleague RJ Barrett, who was drafted in third by the New York Knicks. The two were college roommates at Duke, who would face each other for the first time as opponents in the NBA. Unfortunately, Zion would leave the game in the first half after making contact with his knees with an opponent Knicks player via CBS Sports. The Pelicans would later release a statement that Williamson, Malika Andrews of ESPN, would fail with a blue knee for the remainder of the Summer League.
Zion Williamson is ready for the Summer League. Statement of the Pelicans: pic.twitter.com/52fwVuyxr1
– Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) 6th July 2019
In a recent interview with former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, the former wizard said he was disappointed with the pelicans' decision to put Williamson in the middleweight position in the summer league if that was not his natural position. He also shared his expectations for Zion during his rookie season.
It depends on where they play him. I saw the NBA Summer League and was very disappointed with the pelicans' decision. They started this man, who is 6 & 7; 7 in middle position, to give the illusion that he is dominated. When I say illusion, the illusion is that I have a 6 & 7 Guardian and play against the middle to beat his opponent from dribbling and getting dunk. Once he starts getting dunks that everyone will say, yes, Zion, but that's not his position. His position relative to the NBA is either the two or the three. He's pushing for the three, but the two is certainly his game.
He does not have to learn how to shoot this year because he will develop it. If he drops to 230, you have another shooter who comes into this league. If he plays with the force and the middle position, his diet is out of control and he would be a ball if he does not play in the right position. If you've seen Summer League, centers blocked its shots and if the center was not there, it could drive and fetch dunks.
The whole NBA is so big and professional. It's not about your little kids coming in, and it all depends on where they put it. He could play forward in power and be bankrupt, or take him to the firing point or the three, and he'll move on to the next G.O.A.T.
Zion played with his injury just nine minutes before his departure, but he scored 11 points in 4-of-9 shooting from the field and three rebounds for the pelicans. As for Barrett, he finished the game with 10 points and five rebounds in 25 minutes for the Knicks.