Heat Pelicans Basketball

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) dribbles the ball as Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. (5) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Friday, March 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza) ORG XMIT: LARC104

Given the sky-high expectations, Zion Williamson’s rookie year with the New Orleans Pelicans was always destined to be an adventure, for both him and the team’s fans. Still, nobody could have predicted the roller coaster ride that has been the 2019-2020 season.

There was the euphoric high of the Duke University phenom’s arrival in New Orleans after Anthony Davis’ drawn-out, demoralizing departure, and the preseason knee injury that took Williamson out of action for three months. There was the gradual gelling of the rest of the young, rebuilt team, including the emergence of Brandon Ingram as a second marquee player, followed by Williamson’s electrifying delayed debut and a promising playoff run. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and it all abruptly shut down.

The best news in months is that the wild ride will be back on later this summer. The NBA is putting together a shortened rest-of-season in Orlando that will include a limited number of teams that could still make the playoffs, and the Pels are in that number.

This was likely a savvy marketing move by the league to get Williamson back on TV, but fans don’t have to worry about the behind-the-scenes business decisions. Just having a home team to root for, even from afar, sounds pretty good right about now.


Email Stephanie Grace at sgrace@theadvocate.com.