Pelicans schedule: Zion Williamson can put stamp on MVP race

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

Zion Williamson had a career night for the New Orleans Pelicans in last night’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, dropping 43 points and putting his team in a tie for first place in the Western Conference.

Zion flipped the superstar switch last night, scoring the final 14 points as chants of “MVP” rained down from the New Orleans faithful.

Zion looked the part last night, as he did a bit of everything for the Pels in their win, even flashing into the passing lane for a clutch steal to give the Pelicans a late lead.

Williamson hasn’t been mentioned much as a possible MVP candidate even though New Orleans is in first place, largely because there are so many worthy players right now. Jayson Tatum, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Kevin Durant, Joel Embiid and Ja Morant all have solid cases and are also the best players on teams that are at or near the top of the standings.

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But the upcoming schedule will give Zion Williamson a chance to put his stamp on the MVP race and join the national conversation.

Pelicans schedule: Zion Williamson can join the MVP race

Currently, Fanduel has Zion Williamson at +3000 to win the MVP race, with Jayson Tatum the frontrunner with +280 odds.

Zion will get a chance to put himself in the running over the next eight games, as he will play just about every player ahead of him in the MVP odds.

Here are the next eight games on the Pelicans’ schedule:

  • vs. 76ers
  • @ Grizzlies
  • @ 76ers
  • vs. Rockets
  • vs. Nets
  • @ Mavericks
  • @ Wizards
  • @ Celtics

Zion will start by taking on Joel Embiid and the 76ers in the next game before traveling to Memphis to take on MVP candidate Ja Morant and the Grizzlies.

Then it’s off to Philly for another matchup with Embiid. Zion Williamson will get a break against the Houston Rockets, but then is right back at it against Kevin Durant and the Nets before taking on Luka and the Mavericks on the road.

The final game of this crucial stretch is against MVP frontrunner Jayson Tatum and the 1st-place Boston Celtics in what could be a preview of this year’s NBA Finals.

Five of the next eight games are on the road, and six of them will be against fellow MVP frontrunners, so if Zion can emerge from this with a winning record, some dominant performances and a team in first place, those MVP odds are going to shift.

Zion is not in the MVP conversation yet, but he can get there with a dominant stretch of games, and if the Pelicans keep winning, the best player on a first place team is going to have to at least be in the discussion.

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