After his breakout rookie season in 2020, Zion Williamson continued his tear in New Orleans. The 2019 first overall pick averaged 27 points a game this year. However, despite his regular-season performance, the team failed to make even the play-in tournament, finishing 2 games behind the 10th seed Spurs.
Following the disappointment, Williamson’s family reportedly wants him on another team. However, according to The Athletic, the family is displeased with the franchise. Former head coach Stan Van Gundy was the main target of their criticism as they described him as “too rigid and demanding.”
The family’s critique of Van Gundy comes just a day after his firing. It is unknown if they had any influence on the front office’s decision to fire Van Gundy. With the Pelicans’ amount of talent on the roster, they certainly underachieved, which is the more probable reason for his dismissal.
Even more, uncertainty comes for the Pelicans this offseason as starting point guard Lonzo Ball will become a free agent. Alongside fellow young star Brandon Ingram, the Pelicans have a decent core that looks to compete. However, whether the team decides to keep Ball and the young core intact is yet to be known.
Williamson still is “raw” as a player, but he no doubt will develop with time. Bar any sudden injuries; his career has the potential to be long and productive. That is if he keeps up with his development. In just his sophomore year in the league, he became the first player to shoot 60% from the field while taking 17 or more shots a game.
The Pelicans intended Williamson to be their franchise player for years to come when they drafted him. But given the family’s pressure, there’s no telling where he may end up. With his rookie contract still in effect, it’s unlikely that he leaves New Orleans this year.