Coach Treal | January 22nd, 2020
Welcome back basketball fans. The day has finally arrived with the number one pick of this past June making his long-awaited debut against one of the greatest organizations in not just the Association but in all sports. Sit back as I take a deep dive into the game and give my prediction.
The long-awaited return of the number one pick Zion Williamson is finally upon us and the biggest story of the week. So many questions are on everyone’s mind as he embarks on his NBA Career. The main question I have is how will the team incorporate him back into the flow of the game and on the offensive end of the floor. With his absence, the team has went with Brandon Ingram at the four spot (Power Forward) which has seen him post career-high numbers of 25PPG, 6RPG, 4APG and almost close to the rare percentages of the 50/40/90 club which he is currently at 48% FG, 40% from three and 86% Free Throw percentage. Ingram has been garnering a ton of All-Star consideration so I will be closely watching if and how he adjusts his game with the return of Williamson being on the floor.
He more likely than not will be playing restricted minutes in his debut and games to follow until he gets up to game speed and condition of the pace of the game. The Pelicans this season are a top-five scoring team in the league at 114PPG without the number one pick, so with his addition, even with it being a slow ease-in process to start, this team can make a run at the eighth seed in the West as they currently sit at 17-27 in the twelfth spot. I have also been extremely impressed with a player I personally feel is the most underrated player in the league in Jrue Holiday, who is still posting 20PPG, 6APG, and 5RPG while sharing the backcourt with Lonzo Ball who after a rough start to the season that saw him get benched for a period of time has really turned up his play of late. They are 6-4 in the last ten games but have played much better basketball since the early part of the season.
The Spurs come into this game as of press time sitting just one game out of the eighth seed in the West and winners of their last two games. But overall they are just 5-5 in the last ten games and still haven’t seemed to turn the corner on the season. With the play of DeMar Derozan being one of the bright spots for the team this year, he will need another solid performance to get the Spurs not only a win but back over .500 basketball if they hope to keep the streak of 22 consecutive playoff appearances alive. He will need help from perennial All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge as his play this season has been up and down. I would like to see Aldridge start to get more active on the offensive and defensive backboards as he has never been a big rebound number guy, but his stats this season have dipped in that area and more rebounds for this team with the shooters they have on the floor will be a benefit.
This is seriously a tough game to call and I wouldn’t be shocked if it comes down to the fourth quarter to find a winner. I do have Zion finishing the game with 21 points and 8 rebounds. I have the Pelicans finding a way to protect home court and winning the game 120-115.
Over or Under 230 points combined: Over
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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images