The New Orleans Pelicans are getting Zion Williamson back next season and hope to contend for a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
But that doesn’t mean they won’t end up in the lottery as they did this season when they made the playoffs but still got the 8th pick from the Lakers.
The Anthony Davis trade is still giving three years later, and it is not over yet, as the Pelicans still have the choice to swap picks with the Lakers in 2023 and have their pick outright in 2024, which they can defer to 2025.
The Los Angeles Lakers disappointed last season, winning just 33 games after being one of the preseason favorites to win the title. This was mostly due to injury, as LeBron James and Anthony Davis played just 96 games between them.
But they had some chemistry issues as well, and a roster that was not deep with talent off the bench. With no cap space and no real way to improve (unless they can find a taker for Westbrook), the Lakers are going to be relying heavily on good health from LeBron, who will be entering his 20th season in the league, and Davis, who has played a combined 76 games in the last two seasons.
The Lakers could be running out a closing lineup that looks like this:
This isn’t exactly going to strike fear in the hearts of opponents, and with LeBron possibly entering a contract year, things could get ugly in Los Angeles if they don’t win right away under first-time head coach Darvin Ham.
Of course, if everything goes right for the Lakers they could certainly contend, as they have two of the best players in the league, but if things do go south, it will be the New Orleans Pelicans that could reap the benefits.
New Orleans Pelicans: Victor Wembanyama is a generational prospect
I haven’t seen the type of hype Victor Wembanyama is getting as a prospect since Zion Williamson came out of Duke and maybe not even then.
And it makes sense, as he is a 7-foot-2 (at least) forward who can pretty much do everything, including blocking shots all over the court, shooting the 3-ball at a high rate and taking it to the rim off the bounce.
Seriously, look at this guy’s highlight reel and you will see why he is so hyped:
There are going to be a whole lot of teams looking to tank next season, so it’s doubtful that the Lakers (who will have nothing to gain by being bad) will be in the ranks with the cellar dwellers, but all it takes is for them to miss the playoffs for the Pelicans to have a chance at the #1 pick.
The New Orleans Pelicans bucked serious odds to get the number one pick the year they got Zion, and they had a six percent chance again this year when they ended up drafting 8th.
A lot of things would have to go right for the Pelicans to end up with Victor Wembanyama, but the Western Conference is going to be tough, and if the Lakers suffer bad injury luck, or can’t find a way to improve, they could very well give New Orleans a shot at a generational prospect.