The Pelicans training staff has really emphasized the anal in their analytics all year, but last night has put me at the breaking point. Zion Williamson had 13 points in his first 15 minutes, and then he never scored again because he wasn’t allowed to play anymore.
It’s truly baffling how much the Pels are babying him at this point. They don’t care at all about making the playoffs it seems, and that is dumb. Getting that first playoff experience is crucial for building contenders. Your approach going into the season and your understanding of what it takes to reach the next level completely changes after playing on that stage. Why are the Pels so content to wait on that?
Their training staff is supposed to be one of the best in the league. David Griffin poached them from Phoenix last year, and everyone lauded it as a great move and an example of the superior network Griffin had to make him a desirable team president in the first place. They probably know more than us, but they also didn’t come from a winning organization themselves. Maybe their voice is a bit too powerful in the organization.
Zion was ramped up to full minutes months ago. He looked fine, but the playoff opportunity had already appeared squandered. Pels got a reprieve when the league set up the 9 seed play-in series for the bubble, but we decide to go right back to square one in the first game.
In such a close and important game, what could’ve been the harm of putting him in for the last five minutes? What could possibly go wrong in 20 minutes that wouldn’t have gone wrong in 15? Were they scared of going to overtime and having the optics of benching him then? I still would’ve taken that over what happened last night.
Maybe part of the handshake deal that got Gayle the Zion pick for AD also included a top lottery pick this year? That would be cool. Otherwise, Pels are fucking blowing it.
While that game was important, Clippers-Lakers was absolutely meaningless. Didn’t watch a minute. Most of these games will be meaningless actually, except for the Mavs trying to jump up a seed to avoid Clippers first round and the fight for the final spot in the West.
I really hope it’s anyone but Memphis. Blazers could beat LA pretty easily so I guess I will start cheering for them. Maybe Memphis could fall apart Lester City style and we could have a Pels-Blazers play-in series. If the Pelicans won that, they’d be facing AD having just accomplished everything AD accomplished in his entire tenure in NOLA. That would be cool too.