Sportswriter and Co-host of “The Odd Couple” on FOX Sports Radio, Rob Parker, spoke with David Grubb and gave his thoughts on Zion Williamson re-signing with the Pelicans.
Since the day the New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery in 2019, there has speculation about just how long he would be in New Orleans.
Now, it appears that Williamson is on the verge of signing on for five more seasons with the Pelicans.
I was able to talk with FOX Sports’ Rob Parker and get his perspective on the present and future for both Zion and the Pels.
Q: How surprised are you that a deal is getting done this quickly?
RP: I’m not surprised at all. I’m really not. If you’re New Orleans…when (Zion) said he was excited and wanted to sign a contract with the Pelicans, I think you have to react and jump on that before the waters can be poisoned by people saying “go to New York,” or “go play with these guys.” The Pelicans had a nice playoff run. I think the franchise is looking up and if he wants to be there you should sign him.
And, from Zion’s side…he’s had injury issues. What would you be waiting on, another injury or something else bad to happen? I think this was a match made in heaven.
Q: The rumors are that there will be protections for both sides in this deal. I understand what the Pelicans protections would be, but what could Zion’s side be working on to protect him?
RP: That’s a good question…I do understand where the Pelicans are coming from. They’re protecting themselves for a player who’s been injured in high school, college, and the NBA. He’s just been injured. But when he’s played, he’s been off the charts, and if you have a guy who can play like that and wants to be in New Orleans, you gotta sign him.
Q: After what David Griffin and the front office have done over the past year-plus, where do you think the Pelicans sit in the hierarchy of the Western Conference?
RP: They’re in the mix and you add Zion to that mix of what they were able to do last year, you would expect them to take another step. But the West is going to be very, very difficult. So, it’s going to be real tough, but I expect them to at least make the playoffs and have a chance to win a series. I do think that they’re that talented.
Q: How does Zion fit in with a team he didn’t play with at all last season and one that saw Brandon Ingram emerge as the leader on the court?
RP: If you’re Brandon Ingram or you’re that group and you can’t figure out how to play with a talent like Zion, then you’re not going to do anything. So, I think Brandon Ingram figures out a way and so does the team and the coaching staff and they make it all fit. If anybody thinks the Pelicans are better off without Zion, I think they’re crazy.
*Some answers have been edited for clarity.