It's 1991, and you're an NBA fan. You're flipping through the channels on your television that range from 00-99. It was virtually impossible for you to be a fan of some random team not in your region, unless that team was the Lakers, Knicks, or Celtics.
These big market teams dominated the nationally televised games, while teams like the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, or Cleveland Cavaliers only made it to your television maybe 4-5 times a year. And it was probably only because they were playing those big market teams.
Fast forward to 2019, and now you can be a fan of any team or player and follow them 24/7. So this notion that players all want to go to a "big market" may be outdated.
Just look at the Milwaukee Bucks who were the #1 team in the NBA, had the MVP in Giannis who also had one of the top selling jerseys in the world. Or look at the Portland Trail Blazers, who made it to the Western Conference Finals and were able to retain All-NBA Damian Lillard and his sidekick CJ McCollum.
So while cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and even Chicago are “big markets” any team can make themselves into a big market in this social media driven world.
When Anthony Davis found a way to force himself out of New Orleans, many thought that no matter what kind of trade the Pelicans got it wouldn’t amount to the talent the had with Davis. And in many ways, that would have been true.
Until the draft lottery happened. In a crazy twist of fate, and maybe good karma, the Pelicans got their future back. The ping pong ball bounced their way, and they were gifted Zion Williamson.
The Pelicans then had even more leverage than they already did. They could’ve done whatever they wanted at that point. They could’ve held on to Anthony Davis and made him wait a whole extra year if he really wanted to leave a situation with Zion. They could've traded him to a crappy team like the Chicago Bulls just to spite him.
But instead, they continued believing in good karma and gave Anthony Davis what he wanted by sending him to the Los Angeles Lakers. All the assets that the Lakers had been drafting throughout their rebuilding process now belonged to the Pelicans.
And by acquiring all those young guys who were the spotlight in a big market, along with Zion, they became one of the most talked about teams in the NBA. Thus becoming the social media world's favorite young team.
We've seen everything that Zion can do. He is arguably the most popular high school basketball player to ever play the game when you consider how his highlights have been seen worldwide since he was in 8th grade. But he's not the only one who will be making New Orleans worthy of their own House of Highlights page.
Their second pick in the draft was Jaxson Hayes out of Texas. He hasn't played a minute of NBA basketball yet and he may already have the best dunk of the 2019 calendar year. He turned heads at the Summer League when he elevated over a defender who was underestimating Hayes' power. *See video below*
Nickeil Walker-Alexander was the third pick for the Pelicans, and he just happens to be Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's cousin. Game runs in the family, as Nickeil wowed viewers with his ball handling ability at Summer League. He had an unbelievable highlight of his own when he hit a Harden-like step-back jumper off of the opposite foot, that had the fans and Pelicans bench going crazy. *See other video below-low*
In addition to adding young talent through the draft, they also acquired just about all of the Lakers assets. Josh Hart may be the only player who will be forgotten out of this trade package.
Lonzo Ball is known to drop highlights of his own, but more of in a full game sense. He and Lebron became just the ninth pair of teammates to drop a triple-double in the same game. His defensive ability is going to make it very easy for guys like Zion and Hayes in the paint.
Brandon Ingram has had his moments and has shown flashes of stardom. His poster on Corey Brewer still has fans wondering what the hell Brewer was thinking by trying to get in his way. At just 22 years old, Ingram's game has sky-high potential when you think about his size and shooting ability.
But the Pelicans talent doesn't just begin and end with youth. They still have Jrue Holiday, who has been a staple of the team for years, will continue to be the leader of the franchise. This has got to be the most athletic team he has ever played with. And for a guy who lives off of the pick and roll, expect to see more alley-oops than jump shots from Jrue.
They added a couple of veterans to help guide this young team. JJ Redick chose to leave Philadelphia and join another young team on the come up, and he got a hefty payday. Derrick Favors also left a playoff team in the Utah Jazz to hop on the New Orleans bandwagon.
Usually, we like to hit you with stats to show why a team is going to be good. But this is any entirely new team.
They have started a monopoly on young talent in the game, and are looking to remain one of the most talked about teams every night. There will be nights where they are just running up and down the court and will be creating jaw-dropping moments.
Living up to the hype is just the first step in this young team's journey. But most of these kids have had the cameras in their face since they were going through puberty, so this moment will be nothing new.
You're going to be sending highlights on Instagram to your friends with captions like "WTF" "OMG" and "SHEESH" followed by some fire emojis.
And although New Orleans does not have the biggest fan base right now, they will be gaining new fans everyday as they create their own market.
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