New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for win vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans crushed the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-109 to put an end to an up-and-down April.

This was always supposed to be a winnable game for the Pelicans, likely through a blowout. The Thunder had lost 14 of their previous 15 games, only picking up a surprise win against the Boston Celtics prior to facing the Pels. Stan Van Gundy’s squad would have been disappointed if this was anything but a blowout.

The Thunder are currently in the midst of a full-blown rebuilding process. This season is essentially nothing more than an extended audition for young players to see if they belong in the NBA while the organization hopes to get a top pick in the 2021 draft.

Related Story. Grades for loss vs. Nuggets. light

The days of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are obviously in the rearview mirror, but last season’s memories of Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also have nothing to do with the current iteration of this team.

The good news for the Thunder is that they have a way out of the current bleakness. General manager Sam Presti has accumulated a war chest of draft assets, giving Oklahoma City an incredible chance to be a contender in the future—even if said future comes in a decade.

As for this game, it was always under control for the Pelicans. A late run by Lu Dort may have struck some fear into the hearts of Pels’ fans; however, a comeback was always unlikely. The real tests for the Pelicans are ahead of them, even if a play-in tournament berth appears close to impossible at this juncture.

Here are the player grades for the Pels’ win against the Thunder, starting with my personal MVP:

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Grading the best player

ZION WILLIAMSON. A-. . Big. New Orleans Pelicans

Light work for Zion Williamson all around the floor.

The Pelicans’ all-star found it easy against the Thunder, stuffing the stat sheet once again. His efficiency at the rim wasn’t otherwordly like we have become accustomed to, but he still shot 50 percent on his 27 points.

In addition, Williamson imposed himself rebounding and assisting. He had six offensive rebounds and six assists, making some really clever reads.

Oklahoma City’s frontcourt was overpowered by Zion Williamson. The likes of Moses Brown, Darius Bazley, and Aleksej Pokusevski are taller than Williamson but even the three of them together might not have his girth.