The New Orleans Pelicans have shuffled their roster in an effort to build the right type of team around Zion Williamson.
So far the talk of the offseason has mostly revolved around what the Pels need to do to make Zion happy, as there were some rumblings from his camp that the young superstar was unsatisfied with the direction of the franchise.
To David Griffin’s credit, he didn’t sit on his mistakes, trading away Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams for Jonas Valanciunas, and orchestrating a sign-and-trade of Lonzo Ball and replacing him with Devonte’ Graham.
The Pelicans drafted two long 3-and-D type wings and will have a much different roster heading into next season, even before adding another free agent like Lauri Markkanen or making a trade for a guy like Buddy Hield.
I think the new roster is already more talented, but possibly more importantly, they are the right type of group for Zion Williamson.
New Orleans Pelicans: The Pels shouldn’t rush the roster construction around Zion Williamson
After getting rid of J.J. Redick, Nicolo Melli, Steven Adams and Eric Bledsoe, the Pels are not only going to be younger but much faster, two things that will help Zion Williamson.
Zion likes to get out and run, but unfortunately we didn’t see it enough in Stan Van Gundy’s 1990’s style offense, which mostly relied on Zion bullying his way through four defenders.
This style took its toll, as Zion Williamson took hard fouls all season and ended up getting hurt. This team is going to run more, which should save Zion from constant contact.
I also love that the roster got younger, as the Pels were putting out a serious “Cavaliers during the first LeBron James era” vibe.
People forget that LeBron didn’t win a title until his 7th season after wasting the first six trying to carry old, terrible rosters to the Finals by himself.
LeBron didn’t play with many guys his own age, as the Cavs were constantly trying to plug in veterans in an effort to win now at all costs. They never really built a “team” around LeBron and he eventually fled for greener pastures.
The Pelicans’ core is now mostly around the same age, which will allow them to grow together and give Zion Williamson some teammates he can relate to on a personal level.
The team will be younger, faster and not rely on Zion so much in the half court.