During the Philadelphia 76ers rebuild, they allowed their first round picks to take the first year off.
Ben Simmons took the first year off.
Joel Embiid didn't play until two years after getting drafted.
And Markelle Fultz spent most of his first year working on his "mechanics,"while just playing in 14 games.
The Sixers allowed their young guys time to heal properly before throwing them onto the court. The Pelicans and Zion could take a page out of their book on managing health for longterm gain.
The New Orleans Pelicans came into the season with positive vibes, and a hope that they would be in the playoff race. But they weren't the only ones.
They are scheduled to play the 10th most nationally televised games in the NBA this season. And we picked them to be a team in the playoff race by the end of the season.
With a 6-21 record and 13 straight losses, they have essentially played themselves out of the playoffs. So what's next?
They have a ton of assets that they can sell. All the way from the bottom with guys like Josh Hart and E'Twuan Moore to the top of their roster with guys like Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday. They have many draft picks coming in the future thanks to David Griffin.
So there's really no rush, right? If the plan is to establish New Orleans as a new destination for free agents, then Zion Williamson being healthy should be their top priority.
Zion has yet to play in a regular season NBA game, and we have already begun to see the injuries pile up.
The freak shoe explosion accident at Duke. The knee injury in the Summer League. And then the torn meniscus in the preseason that required surgery.
These little flashes of "Injury Prone" are not quite a red flag, but we're at least on a yellow in the color spectrum. Big guys like him who are freakishly athletic as he is hardly ever get a chance to succeed.
To be fair, we may have never seen anything like the mix of athletic ability and size of Zion at that age. So maybe he can just heal faster than other human beings, who knows.
But why risk it if you're New Orleans? If Zion has made up his mind about playing, then that's one thing. But we have not seen him or heard him make any kind of "I am definitely playing this season" statement.
And with the Pelicans being as bad as they are, there's really no point to let him play. They have a guy who has the potential to be a top ten player in the NBA, if not better. Throwing him out there to play for a bad team after having surgery, doesn't seem like the best business decision.
At this point, if I am running the Pelicans, I'm wrapping Zion in bubblewrap and asking him to stay home until the 2020 season.
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