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  1. #1

    Zion unhappy in NOLA?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    Well, I sort of understand Griffin's sense of urgency. After failing to do ANYTHING with Anthony Davis, the clock is ticking on Zion. You aren't likely to get a third shot at a generational talent for a long, long time.

    But yeah, you gotta find the right pieces. I liked the Adams acquisition. Thought it would free up Zion to roam the floor more. I can't figure out whether Ball works on this team or not. Selfishly, I'm bummed the dumped JJ.

    Again, gonna be a big off-season. Will determine what direction this franchise heads in.
    This post aged well.


    Zion's people aren't happy

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    Zion's people aren't happy
    I mean, can you blame them? He's sitting at home while watching other young stars make a name and rep for themselves in the playoffs. Heck, even Ja Morant, who went out in round one, got a nice boost from his playoff performance. Zion ain't played a meaningful game yet in his career.
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    I mean, can you blame them? He's sitting at home while watching other young stars make a name and rep for themselves in the playoffs. Heck, even Ja Morant, who went out in round one, got a nice boost from his playoff performance. Zion ain't played a meaningful game yet in his career.
    I was chastised yesterday for saying the Pelicans need to move NOW in order to build around him before his patience withers. The Pelicans have a bad track record with his level of talent. Clearly, this off season is critical for the future of the franchise and Zion's career.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    I was chastised yesterday for saying the Pelicans need to move NOW in order to build around him before his patience withers. The Pelicans have a bad track record with his level of talent. Clearly, this off season is critical for the future of the franchise and Zion's career.
    One of the assistants the Pelicans are reportedly considering is Teresa Witherspoon. Everyone has assumed that Becky Hammond or Kara Lawson would be the first woman head coach in the NBA. Although she hasn't been a full time assistant in the league for very long, who knows? Maybe it will be Witherspoon.

  5. #5
    scottdude8's Avatar
    scottdude8 is offline Contributor, Zoubek disciple, and resident Wolverine
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    Zion unhappy in NOLA?

    The article is itself behind a paywall, but there's been a lot of chatter on Twitter about this article from The Athletic that says part of "Zion's team" are unhappy with the situation in NOLA.

    Considering everything I've seen contains the constant disclaimer of Zion's team rather than saying Zion himself is unhappy, I'm taking this with a huge grain of salt. But the timing with Stan Van Gundy's firing after one year certainly seems more than coincidental.

    From my perspective, NOLA has the pieces to take a big step forward, and soon... BI and Zion appear to work well together, and there's loads of solid young talent and draft assets (along with their lottery pick this year, the Pelicans have three of the top 15 picks in the second round, which could easily be used to move up to get a specific target late in the first round) to use to build around that duo. Perhaps it's an issue with SVG's use of Zion, combined with the one weird personnel move last year of signing Stephen Adams (a paint bound big that contrasts with Zion's skills) that is the main problem here. I hope Zion sticks with it, as it would be fun to see him succeed in a city that we know falls in love with sports personalities and supports winners like crazy (see Drew Brees and the Saints).

    Any veiled pieces of info from those who have read the article itself would be of interest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    I was chastised yesterday for saying the Pelicans need to move NOW in order to build around him before his patience withers. The Pelicans have a bad track record with his level of talent. Clearly, this off season is critical for the future of the franchise and Zion's career.
    You were not chastised by me. I fully agree that the Pels need to move to make Zion happy ASAP. While it is easy to look at the NBA contract rules as binding a young player to a team for 8 years (4 years of rookie deals and then a 4 year RFA contract) it does not have to go that way. We see stars force trades earlier than a team wants all the time (Kawhi, PG, AD, Harden). More importantly, once a realationship between player and team goes sour, it can be really hard (if not impossible) to repair. It would be a big financial risk (though with Zion's off-court earning, much less so) but Zion could sign a 1-year extension when he is a restricted free agent in 2 years, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent much faster than usual.
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

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    I think it bears mentioning that Zion is hardly the first really good player to end up on a crap team...this is what tends to happen to very top draft picks.

    Having said that, yeah, I'm sure his team (whatever that may consist of) wants him on a competitive team, probably in a larger market...but I don't see any quick fix coming NOLA's way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    I think it bears mentioning that Zion is hardly the first really good player to end up on a crap team...this is what tends to happen to very top draft picks.
    I guess the problem for me, and why I think firing Stan Van Gundy was the right move, is that the New Orleans team is not that crappy. Zion and Brandon Ingram are all star caliber players. Had they had a decent records in close games, they'd be in the playoffs. I think if they hire the right coach, they could be in next year, but I do agree if it's another miss on the coach and another miss at the playoffs, then Zion will start to get antsy.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by howardlander View Post
    I guess the problem for me, and why I think firing Stan Van Gundy was the right move, is that the New Orleans team is not that crappy. Zion and Brandon Ingram are all star caliber players. Had they had a decent records in close games, they'd be in the playoffs. I think if they hire the right coach, they could be in next year, but I do agree if it's another miss on the coach and another miss at the playoffs, then Zion will start to get antsy.
    very true, SVG didn't impress as coach at all...for whatever reason, the Pels had a habit of folding down the stretch in a lot of games...so I'd agree, they should have been better...still, Zion has to realize he has limited recourse now, but if he can stay healthy he's going to make boatloads, eventually, with a much better team. He'll still be what, 24 or 25 when he can escape NO? Not sure how he extricates himself before then...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottdude8 View Post
    The article is itself behind a paywall, but there's been a lot of chatter on Twitter about this article from The Athletic that says part of "Zion's team" are unhappy with the situation in NOLA.

    Considering everything I've seen contains the constant disclaimer of Zion's team rather than saying Zion himself is unhappy, I'm taking this with a huge grain of salt. But the timing with Stan Van Gundy's firing after one year certainly seems more than coincidental.

    From my perspective, NOLA has the pieces to take a big step forward, and soon... BI and Zion appear to work well together, and there's loads of solid young talent and draft assets (along with their lottery pick this year, the Pelicans have three of the top 15 picks in the second round, which could easily be used to move up to get a specific target late in the first round) to use to build around that duo. Perhaps it's an issue with SVG's use of Zion, combined with the one weird personnel move last year of signing Stephen Adams (a paint bound big that contrasts with Zion's skills) that is the main problem here. I hope Zion sticks with it, as it would be fun to see him succeed in a city that we know falls in love with sports personalities and supports winners like crazy (see Drew Brees and the Saints).

    Any veiled pieces of info from those who have read the article itself would be of interest
    There are some specific things the article mentions that I'll add info on. Obviously, they mention Zion's quote about playing at MSG, but that's been discussed at length here already. The first item, which I am 99% sure also was discussed on DBR, is the JJ trade, which also upset Zion:
    When the Pels traded J.J. Redick to Dallas in March, it not only upset Redick but also is said to have irritated Williamson. Redick had asked to either be traded before the season or to stay in New Orleans all season for family reasons and proceeded to blast the organization and executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin on his podcast after the trade. Redick was a veteran with whom Williamson had grown comfortable in their two seasons together, and the dysfunction Redick accused the Pelicans of harboring is said to have stoked some of Williamsonís own feelings with regards to the direction of the franchise.

    ďI donít think youíre going to get honesty from that (New Orleans) front office, objectively speaking,Ē Redick said after the trade, echoing the exact line of criticism people close to Williamson had levied against the Pelicans. ďThatís an opinion. I just donít think youíre gonna get that. I donít think what happened with me is necessarily an isolated incident. Itís not something where I would expect certainly the agents who worked on this with me to ever trust that front office again.Ē
    The second is that BI did not like the way Van Gundy deployed him and Zion. The article doesn't say it explicitly, but I don't think it's unreasonable to assume Zion would share those frustrations.
    Sources indicated that Brandon Ingram, an All-Star under Gentry, was not a fan of Van Gundyís coaching style. Ingram openly talked about the way Van Gundy used Williamson and him in certain offensive sets and how they rarely worked together to get each other easier looks.
    The article talks about several other things not necessarily related to Zion (SVG's unhappiness, Hart and Ball, SVG replacement, BI, general dysfunction of the org). Regarding Williamson specifically, the major thrust of the piece is that things just didn't work under Van Gundy, and some of his family members don't like the direction of the Pels org so far. Also, both Zion and BI will not be happy if the Pels don't keep Lonzo:
    ďItíd be dope. Me, Brandon and Zo, the three of us have a great relationship,Ē Williamson said. ďI really would want Zo to come back. He knows that. But you know, like I said, the reality of the situation is Zo is a grown man, so heíll make the decision thatís best for him. The only thing I can say is, I hope he stays.Ē

    Ingram added, ďIn my exit meeting, I talked a lot about (Ball and Hart), especially Zo. I think heís a generational talent in his passing ability. The things he sees on the basketball floor that nobody else sees, how he can manipulate the game and on the defensive end, his anticipation.Ē
    One thing I know about sports is that winning cures a lot. If the Pels start doing that, this will probably all go away.

  11. #11
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    It should be noted that Zion's "team" has not always displayed splendid judgment, e.g. the whole contractual festouche that has been tied up in court.

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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    It should be noted that Zion's "team" has not always displayed splendid judgment, e.g. the whole contractual festouche that has been tied up in court.
    That's true. I had a similar thought when I read that it's "certain family members" that are unhappy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JetpackJesus View Post
    The article talks about several other things not necessarily related to Zion (SVG's unhappiness, Hart and Ball, SVG replacement, BI, general dysfunction of the org). Regarding Williamson specifically, the major thrust of the piece is that things just didn't work under Van Gundy, and some of his family members don't like the direction of the Pels org so far. Also, both Zion and BI will not be happy if the Pels don't keep Lonzo:
    Put another way, the Pels are gonna keep Zo. The question is... at what cost? His stats (14ppg, 37% from 3, 5 rebs, 6 assists) are not exactly, "throw a wheelbarrow of money at him!" kinda numbers. I wonder if you could get him for like 4 for $48 mil?
    I don't know what you are doing right now, but if you aren't listening to the DBR Podcast, you're doing it wrong.

  14. #14
    I hope Zion doesnít let talk like this get into his head. For all his talent, Zion hasnít really shown heís a winner yet. He still has to learn to assert himself during crunch time of ballgames and also on the defensive end. He has great efficiency and yet I sense a hesitancy on his part to demand the ball at crucial points in the game. I think Coach K pointed out at one time that Zion is such a perfectionist that he only wanted to take shots that are high efficiency shots. But those are not the type of shots available at crunch time. Heís only 20 so of course he has time to figure it out, but he should be focusing on improving his game so heís a winner in addition to being a superstar.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    I was chastised yesterday for saying the Pelicans need to move NOW in order to build around him before his patience withers. The Pelicans have a bad track record with his level of talent. Clearly, this off season is critical for the future of the franchise and Zion's career.
    I was the one who was chastised a week or so ago when I suggested that if the Pelicans did not make the playoffs next year Zion might very well want to start looking elsewhere. And yet here we are with this report today.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDukie View Post
    I was the one who was chastised a week or so ago when I suggested that if the Pelicans did not make the playoffs next year Zion might very well want to start looking elsewhere. And yet here we are with this report today.
    I admittedly wonder what is meant my Zion's "family" and "people." Is it PR subterfuge to keep Zion from responsibility, or are his family causing drama?

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15 View Post
    I admittedly wonder what is meant my Zion's "family" and "people." Is it PR subterfuge to keep Zion from responsibility, or are his family causing drama?
    Good question. I donít think we can know the answer for sure. But my bet would be that Zion himself doesnít like the situation in New Orleans.

  18. Quote Originally Posted by JamminJoe View Post
    I hope Zion doesnít let talk like this get into his head. For all his talent, Zion hasnít really shown heís a winner yet. He still has to learn to assert himself during crunch time of ballgames and also on the defensive end.
    If I was part of Zion's family I too would be unhappy with SVG always talking down Zion's defense to the press. Because now there's this narrative that Zion is a terrible defender that gets perpetuated even here on DBR. He's not. Zion's defensive EPM is better than even Durant's!

    Unfortunately the stats don't say the same for Ingram, who is a below average defender.

    But Zion has been unfairly painted as a bad defender.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    You were not chastised by me. I fully agree that the Pels need to move to make Zion happy ASAP. While it is easy to look at the NBA contract rules as binding a young player to a team for 8 years (4 years of rookie deals and then a 4 year RFA contract) it does not have to go that way. We see stars force trades earlier than a team wants all the time (Kawhi, PG, AD, Harden). More importantly, once a realationship between player and team goes sour, it can be really hard (if not impossible) to repair. It would be a big financial risk (though with Zion's off-court earning, much less so) but Zion could sign a 1-year extension when he is a restricted free agent in 2 years, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent much faster than usual.
    When he got his shoe deal basically being a huge payday that most players are waiting to get with their extension I always thought Zion should bet on himself and do the one year deal and become an unrestricted free agent asap. Doesn't mean he has to leave New Orleans but when you see the biggest stars the team that drafted you wanting out in Paul and Davis, you should maximize your influence as fast as possible.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by ice-9 View Post
    If I was part of Zion's family I too would be unhappy with SVG always talking down Zion's defense to the press. Because now there's this narrative that Zion is a terrible defender that gets perpetuated even here on DBR. He's not. Zion's defensive EPM is better than even Durant's!

    Unfortunately the stats don't say the same for Ingram, who is a below average defender.

    But Zion has been unfairly painted as a bad defender.
    Defensive EPM, you mean the stat that gives Alex Caruso the third best defensive rating in the league?

    Zion was not a terrible defender this past year but who is to say thatís not due to SVGís influence?

    Thereís plenty of game film out there that shows Zion being a bit lost on defense - and thatís ok for a guy who effectively just finished his rookie year. But I wouldnít say Zís rep has been unfairly earned nor that itís SVGís fault.

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