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NBA Draft Should Resuscitate Pelicans, Who Are Poised To Select Duke’s Zion Williamson

NAB Top Draft Pick – Zion Williamson The New Orleans Pelicans joined the NBA in 2002 and that’s almost the end of the good news about this franchise. The...

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

NAB Top Draft Pick – Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans joined the NBA in 2002 and that’s almost the end of the good news about this franchise.

The Pelicans have also been known as the Hornets. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans in 2005, the Hornets played two seasons in Oklahoma City. They’ve been in the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

The one thing they haven’t been in is the NBA Finals. And it’s not a lack of players coming through the pipeline. The Pelicans have enjoyed the services of Chris Paul (now with the Houston Rockets) and Anthony Davis (traded to the Los Angeles Lakers) and David West, who earned a championship ring with the Golden State Warriors a year ago. Look back further and there are Jamal Mashburn, Tyson Chandler, Peja Stojakovic.

The Pelicans, thanks to the structure of the NBA’s draft lottery, hold the rights to the No. 1 overall selection in the draft on Thursday night. There’s no doubt they will take Duke’s Zion Williamson, who turned pro after his fabulous freshman year. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson likely fits in the NBA as a small forward, but he has shown he can offer some presence in the lane.

The Memphis Grizzlies hold the second pick and are followed by the New York Knicks, Lakers, and Cleveland Cavaliers. The woeful Phoenix Suns pick sixth.

A few names to keep in mind as the draft unfolds: Murray State guard Ja Morant, Duke forward R.J. Barrett, late-rising Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland and Oregon center Bol Bol. Bol, who is 7-2, played only nine games for the Ducks last season due to injury. His height and wingspan (7 feet, 8 inches) make him an interesting prospect, but he won’t go in the top 10.

The draft is behind held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at 8:30 p.m. ET. TV: ESPN.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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