Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson is among the top stars to watch in the NBA’s Orlando season restart, according to Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. Kushner notes that the league’s unique eight-game seeding play-in approach was clearly designed to imbue value to the Pelicans’ eight contests, and to allow a debut Williamson playoff appearance to be possible.
This play-in option, which equips the teams in the West seeded ninth to 13th with a theoretical chance of making the playoffs in a knockout two-game wildcard bout with that No. 8 seed, would benefit a team like the eleventh-seeded Pelicans, who fall to a 28-37 record after their loss to the Jazz tonight.
There’s more out of the NBA’s Southwest Division:
- Mavericks director of player personnel Tony Ronzone has been accused of sexual assault by another Mavericks employee, according to Jessica Luther and Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. After the Sports Illustrated investigation was published, the Mavericks issued a response, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. The Mavericks called the article a “one-sided, incomplete and sensational form of journalism, with its inaccuracies, mischaracterizations and omissions.”
- Spurs starting shooting guard Bryn Forbes will miss the team’s first seeding game in the league’s Disney World restart as he battles a sore right quad, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).
- Mike Finger of the San Antonio Express-News wonders if, thanks in part to the Spurs‘ inclusion in the Orlando restart, star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan and longtime head coach Gregg Popovich might remain with the team beyond this season. DeRozan, 30, can opt out of the 2020/21 season, the last season in the five-year, $139MM contract he signed with the team that drafted him, the Raptors, in 2016. Popovich, 71, has coached the Spurs since 1996. The team has made six Finals appearances during his tenure, winning five.