Well look at that! We finally had a game where Zion played more than 15 minutes and wouldn't you know it, the Pelicans secured their first bubble win. A win of great importance too at that! Tonight he saw the floor for 25 minutes and put up 23/7/5 and was a +8
Now you can call me crazy if you want, but Zion feels like the type of player that you maybe want to play as you try and make the playoffs. I understand the pickle the team is in, they want to protect their star, but at the same time he's fully healthy. He can't consistently play 25 minutes? Looking at the standings you see the Grizzlies, the team everyone is chasing, unable to win in the bubble. They've now lost their last 4 regular season games. The Blazers just lost yesterday and have Houston (perfect in the bubble) tomorrow. You don't think the
Pelicans league wish they had 1 more win? That's why dropping that opener against the Jazz was so huge. Nobody expected them to beat the Clippers in their last game, but you look at their schedule and they go SAC/WSH/SA/SAC/ORL to finish. The play in is WIDE OPEN and could very well come down to a one win difference.
More often than not I'm always partial to the strategy of playing your best players in must win games. I'm old school like that. Even if nobody thinks the Pelicans would make much of a series against the Lakers, making the playoffs is important for the development of a young team. You have to start somewhere when you rebuild, so even if they were to get swept, Zion vs LeBron playoff minutes would be huge. Brandon Ingram being a #1 in a playoff series would be big for his development and will help NO make a better decision about his upcoming extension.
So yeah, playing Zion = good. Who knew. I know the game of basketball can get overcomplicated at times, but when it comes to playing Zion or not playing Zion that's the easiest decision maybe of all time.