We were rolling through the southeast when the buzz in New Orleans was mounting for the NBA Draft. New Orleans was about to get its new king, Zion Williamson. The young man from Duke is hailed as being a can’t miss or once a generation type player and if any team needed that type of hot sauce it was the New Orleans Pelicans.
The first pick of the night was up and the call was made — Williamson was coming to New Orleans. The assembled crowd of hundreds of Pelicans fans in Fulton Alley erupted as confetti and streamers flew through the air. It almost felt as if everyone had time travelled back to the NFC Championship and the referees had made the correct call.
In honor of joy being back in Mudville here are four reasons why I love the Zion Williamson pick.
Zion > Anthony
Sure it’s superficial but I love just the name itself, which is way cooler than Anthony. Zion. Sounds like a superheroes name. One that wouldn’t be out of place fighting along side the Black Panther and Wonder Woman.
“Zion it’s up to you!”
Which isn’t that far from the truth as the New Orleans franchise desperately needs a savior on the court and hopefully David Griffin is one in the front office. Speaking of which, everyone is hailing Griffin as a godsend himself and, yes, he has seemingly played the Anthony Davis trade situation perfectly but, lets hold off until he’s not playing with a full house to see how well he performs. But again, he has played this trade about as well as it could be played.
Growing up a Kentucky Wildcat fan I will be the first to admit that I never paid that much attention to Williamson at Duke. Sure, I saw all the highlights and crazy dunks and blocks that he pulled off in games but never really dug into what this kid was all about. To be honest, the first time I saw him I thought he was going to be another Julius Randle type but that’s on the court stuff.
What I’m most interested in is this kid’s demeanor. He seems to be the type of kid you can put a lot of pressure on and he won’t crack. He just doesn’t seem easy to shake up. More than that, at least in these first moments, he doesn’t show any arrogance and seems to be truly happy to be here in New Orleans.
Which all adds up to leadership. Could Williamson be the superstar who is actually a leader? I always wondered about Anthony Davis’ leadership skills and, in his defense, just because you’re the superstar doesn’t mean you have to be the leader, but damn it’s nice when you can get that combination. It changes teams. Davis’ last few months on the Pelicans showed the world that he wasn’t the leader. It will be beautiful if Williamson, under the wing of Jrue Holiday, can grow into the role.
All the Feels
At the end of some episodes of the HBO series “Band of Brothers” they faded out and then showed the real guys who were in World War II. They’re old men now and upon talking about their old battles, they sometimes get choked up which makes everyone else choke up.
Why am I talking about old HBO series that make you cry? The NBA Draft. Right after getting drafted there was a microphone in Williamson’s face and the tears started to fall down his cheeks. It was a beautiful moment and I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Squashing Lavar Ball
Williamson is listed at 6’7” and 285 pounds. His stature is as impressive as his basketball skills and I would not want to be on his bad side.
Unfortunately for the Pelicans, they now have Lonzo Ball on the team. Lonzo always seemed to be a selfish type player to me, not so much in his play but more in his demeanor. The guy just seems to be disconnected.
All of that can be corrected and molded. My problem is with Lonzo’s dad — Lavar Ball, a Grade A jackass in my book. Hopefully the elder Ball stays away from the team (and honestly the entire city) and does not mess with Williamson because the guy is hot garbage to such a degree that no one in L.A. cared when his son, a local, got traded. And that, hopefully, is the last time I ever mention this goofball.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Hi-Wire Brewing “hi-pitch” Mosaic IPA
Playlist Recommendation: Fats Domino – “Walking About To New Orleans”
Around the Way
We’re back from our awesome road trip and I have to mention what a wonderful time we had. It’s great to see new cities and make new friends. Thank you to all of our new friends like Anthony in Knoxville and Mike and the guys from Travelling Circus Brewing in Asheville (we met there, they are actually based out of Charleston, South Carolina). It was a blast and a great reminder at how beautiful this country can be.