Zion Williamson seems to be basketball’s next big star, and the NBA may be trying to maximize his exposure.
Speaking Thursday on “The Hoop Collective,” ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said that some around the league believe the NBA’s proposed plan for an expanded postseason is designed to get Williamson and his New Orleans Pelicans in.
“I’ve already heard people in this league say this is an elaborate game to get Zion Williamson into this bubble,” said Windorst, per Real GM. “I’ll tell you one thing: that scenario gets Zion Williamson in. Look, I’ve just heard.
“I’m not saying the NBA is going this route, I’m just saying I’ve already heard this scenario that no matter what happens, the cutoff line will be the Pelicans,” Windhorst added. “They’ll be in. It will be the first time in the history of the NBA that the league kicked the ball into the fairway for New Orleans.”
Recent reports suggested that the NBA was considering a World Cup-style group stage format for the playoffs (which you can read more about here). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that such a format would include the 16 playoff teams, plus those on the cusp such as Williamson’s Pelicans.
Story includes continued conversations about a return-to-play that includes the 16-playoff teams — plus the four Western Conference teams on playoff bubble: Blazers, Kings, Pelicans and Spurs. https://t.co/jNGtRvVUFJ
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) May 27, 2020
The Pelicans were tenth in the West and 18th in the league overall at 28-36 before the season was suspended. New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said earlier this month that Williamson may have certain restrictions if play does resume, but having the No. 1 overall pick present in any way would obviously increase the buzz surrounding the playoffs even further.