The Pelicans are 9-7 since Zion Williamson made his debut a little over a month ago. This is what’s called a “playoff push”, and it’s what you have to do when you’ve got J.J. Redick on your team and he hasn’t missed the playoffs even once over his 13-year career and if you miss the playoffs he’s going to tie you all to chairs and stick you under a cold shower (better than the other kind of shower Redick likes to give, am I right???????) in the locker room for several hours until the equipment manager finds you.
Yeah. This is serious stuff. Even with the imminent threat of hazing perpetrated by Redick, the Pelicans, before Williamson’s arrival, were incapable of making such a push. But now that they’ve got a guy who could probably score a point per minute if he wanted to, wins are a lot easier to come by. Not against the Lakers, necessarily, but against other, cruddier teams. And not to spread conspiracies or anything, but the league has a clear interest in putting Williamson in the ‘offs over an unexciting (despite Ja Morant who is totally going to be ROTY so we can just stop talking about that) Grizzlies team. Lakers versus Pelicans in the first round would be a sweep, but it would be a sweep that would garner hella ratings.
I didn’t expect Williamson to make this much of an impact right away. I thought he’d be a little more limited minutes-wise, for one thing. And for another, I didn’t think he’d be a total unstoppable scoring beast in the paint who either scores or gets fouled (or, rarely, misses a shot he probably should’ve made) every time he gets the ball down there unless he’s going up against Giannis (who doesn’t matter because he’s in the East and can’t hurt him anymore until the Finals). I was wrong, I admit it. Luckily I don’t think I shared my wrong opinions to anyone except my cat, Japurri Purrker, who isn’t in a position to tell everyone how wrong they were.
35 points in this game doesn’t even feel like anything special. It should, because 35 points is a ton for a rookie who hasn’t even played 20 games yet, but I think I’m becoming desensitized to his dominance. Wake me up when he scores 40, and then let me go back to sleep again, because 50 is probably right around the corner.