What this young squad of players in New Orleans did with multiple rookies showing up big time should be an inspiration for Zion Williamson to work.
The first-round series came to an end on Thursday at the Smoothie King Center with Chris Paul and Co winning Game 6 and with that, the series. But the Pelicans did what no other team did well this consistently in the regular season, they made the Phoenix Suns struggle for a win.
Coming to the Playoffs as the 9th seed in the West, these young and pesky Pelicans didn’t know any better but to give their best every game they played.
Having no burden of expectations gave them the confidence, and Devin Booker getting injured in the 2nd game gave them the reason to believe that they can win the series, not just take the Suns deeper.
But most of all, what drove this team was how well their core of youngsters performed even when the task was too big for them to even think of it, let alone taking the best team in the league to 6 games.
Charles Barkley thrashes Zion Williamson as the Pelicans crash out of the Playoffs after giving a tough fight to #1 seed Phoenix Suns
60% of the players who suited up for the Pels these Playoffs are 24 or younger. The rookie coach Willie Green already having Brandon Ingram and Williamson in the squad also got lucky to have drafted Trey Murphy III as the 17th pick this season, but most of all for getting Herb Jones in the second round and Jose Alvarado as an undrafted free agent.
Jones and Alvarado were everything that was good about the Pelicans’ defense. While Jones averaged over 11 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, almost 2 steals, and over a block while starting and playing around 39 minutes a game, Alvarado came off the bench and made life hell for the Point God in most of the series.
If this very team would have had their 2019 1st pick for this season who knows they could have pulled the biggest upset of the Playoffs. And so, Charles Barkley says Zion should be ashamed of himself for missing out on that, while also criticizing Anthony Davis of the LA Lakers for the same reasons.
Chuck shares his thoughts on Zion’s future with the Pelicans. pic.twitter.com/WotmHwY1tA
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 29, 2022
This squad will be the most exciting bunch of youngsters to watch out for next season if and when Williamson comes back into the line-up. Until then, the 2021 All-Star must work on his fitness and not waste his youth going through injuries.