Zion’s expected debut has been moved to ESPN

Earlier this week, Pelicans GM David Griffin announced that the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, Zion Williamson, will make his debut on January 22 against the Spurs.

On Friday, it was announced that the Spurs-Pelicans’ game at the Smoothie King Center would be televised nationally by ESPN.

The 19-year-old Williamson played very well in the preseason but has been sidelined with a torn right lateral meniscus.

Williamson, during his one year at Duke, was the 2019 Naismith Award and John R. Wooden Award. Williamson is just the third freshman to win AP Player of the Year honors, joining Kevin Durant (Texas – 2007) and Anthony Davis (Kentucky – 2012).

 Additionally, the Spartanburg, South Carolina native was the recipient of the 2019 Karl Malone Award as the nation’s top power forward, was named the National Freshman of the Year by the NABC and USBWA, the ACC Player of the Year and a consensus First Team All-American. 

Williamson appeared in 33 games for the Blue Devils, averaging 22.6 points (16th in the nation; 2nd in ACC) on .680 shooting from the floor (ranked 2nd in the country), 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks. 

Williamson helped Duke capture the 2019 ACC Championship, earning ACC Tournament MVP honors, and an appearance in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament, averaging 26.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in postseason play.

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Pelicans add Hall of Famer Teresa Weatherspoon to coaching staff

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has added AJ Diggs and Teresa Weatherspoon to Head Coach Alvin Gentry’s coaching staff as two-way player development coaches. Diggs and Weatherspoon will work closely with the team’s two-way players and will accompany them to and from their transfers to the Pelicans’ G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks.

“I am thrilled to welcome and AJ and Teresa to our coaching staff here in New Orleans,” said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. “As we continue to put an increased emphasis on player development, AJ and Teresa will play an integral role with our younger players and will be a huge asset to our players and staff both here in New Orleans and Erie.”

Prior to landing in New Orleans, Diggs had coaching stints in the NBA G League with the Maine Red Claws, Austin Spurs and most recently, Raptors 905, where he was a member of Jerry Stackhouse’s staff that captured the NBA G League Championship in 2017.

A native of Long Beach, Calif., Diggs was a four-year letter-winner at the University of California-Berkeley, appearing in 116 career games for the Golden Bears. After a brief playing stint in the NBA G League, Diggs returned to school, earning his MBA from Loyola Marymount. Upon graduation, Diggs worked as a coach and in the recreation field in California, helping found Elite Skills Academy and serving as the director of basketball operations for Athlete’s Performance.

Most recently, Weatherspoon served as the Director of Player and Franchise Development with the WNBA’s New York Liberty for the previous four seasons. Prior to her time in the Liberty front office, Weatherspoon was the head coach at her alma mater, Louisiana Tech University, from 2009-14, leading the Lady Techsters to a 99-71 (.582) record over six seasons, making consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament in 2010 and 2011, and winning the WAC tournament in 2010. She initially joined the women’s basketball program at Louisiana Tech in the 2008-09 season, serving as associate head coach after serving as the head coach of the Westchester (NY) Phantoms of the American Basketball Association during the 2007-08 season.

After a collegiate playing career at Louisiana Tech from 1984-88, where she helped lead her team to the 1988 NCAA National Championship during her senior campaign, Weatherspoon embarked on a 16-year playing career, beginning overseas with stops in Italy, France and Russia from 1988-1996, then joining the New York Liberty from 1997-03, and finishing her professional career as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks in 2004. In 254 career regular season games in the WNBA, Weatherspoon averaged 5.0 points, 5.3 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals while earning multiple accolades along the way, including back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1997 and 1998, four consecutive All-WNBA Second Team nods from 1997-2000 and five straight All-Star appearances from 1999-2003. At the conclusion of her career, Weatherspoon was named one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time in 2011 and was a member of the WNBA Top 20@20 list in 2016. A 2010 inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Weatherspoon was recently enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts as part of the 2019 class.

Pels’ Darius Miller ruptures right Achilles

New Orleans Pelicans F Darius Miller had surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon, the team announced on Thursday.

While the Pelicans did not announce when Miller could return, according to ESPN, Miller could be out 7-8 months

Miller suffered the injury while playing 3-on-3 basketball. He is scheduled to begin rehab next week and start practicing in five to six months, according to ESPN.

JJ Redick on losing to Toronto: ‘The rest of the playoffs were tough to watch’

In the NBA, when you play in a Game 7, anything can happen, which was the case when the Philadelphia 76ers went toe-to-toe with the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

As we all know, this series came down to the final seconds, and it all ended when Kawhi Leonard made an improbable buzzer-beater to eliminate Philadelphia from the playoffs. Ultimately, the Raptors would win an NBA title, and 76ers could only think about what could have been.

On Tuesday, the New Orleans Pelicans had a conference call to introduce former 76ers G JJ Redick to the media. Redick signed a reported two-year deal at $26.5 million with New Orleans.

During the call, Redick, who spent two seasons in Philadelphia, discussed how he viewed the Raptors winning it all.

“In a way, you’re more mad about the sort of outcome of the Raptors winning because of how you lost, and at the same time, you are in some way, sort of validated because they were the team that won and you were that close,” Redick said.

“The rest of the playoffs were tough to watch. I’m such a fan of the game. I watch every playoff game. In some years when you realize you didn’t necessarily have a chance to win it all, it can be sort of enjoyable. When you feel like you’re in the running and you’re close, when you lose in that manner, it’s tough to watch. Yeah, it was tough to watch.”

While the 35-year-old Redick will not be apart of the 76ers moving forward, he did acknowledge that Philadelphia made him an offer, and he discussed how much of a great time had with the team.

“Yes, there was an offer made,” Redick said. “My time in Philly was two of the best years of my career. I love everyone in that organization. I have nothing but respect for (owners) Josh(Harris), Blitz(David Blitzer) and Elton(Brand) and Brett (Brown). I love all those guys.”

With Jimmy Butler and Redick out the door, the 76ers will look much different next season, but many believe by re-signing Tobias Harris, adding Al Horford and Josh Richardson, that the 76ers will be a better team next season. They will miss Redick’s shooting and Butler’s playmaking ability, but they will gain something on the defensive end. Whether that will equal better, will be something we will find out next season.

Listen to the audio below:

Suns agree to terms with Cheick Diallo

The Phoenix Suns and forward/center Cheick Diallo have agreed to terms on a contract, the team announced today.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year deal.

Diallo, 22, has played three NBA seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans and this past season averaged career highs of 6.0 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14.0 minutes while making 62.0% of his field goals. Following the All-Star break in 2018-19, he averaged 8.9 points and 7.6 rebounds on 63.6% shooting from the field and 84.0% from the free throw line with eight double-doubles in 23 games, including a career-high 18 boards plus 16 points on Feb. 22 at Indiana. On a per-36 minute basis, Diallo holds career averages of 15.6 points, 13.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

The Mali-native was originally the 33rd overall selection in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft by the LA Clippers following one season at the University of Kansas. New Orleans acquired Diallo in a draft night trade and he played in 133 regular season games with the Pelicans in addition to seven postseason appearances during the team’s run to the 2018 Western Conference Semifinals.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 15 players.

Pels’ GM: Redick is among the very best shooters in league history

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that the team has signed free agent guard JJ Redick. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year, $26.5 million deal.

“JJ Redick is among the very best shooters and professionals in league history,” said Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “Coming off perhaps the best season of his remarkable career, his on-the-court resumé speaks for itself. However, it was his desire to dive into the role of mentor and veteran leader that spoke most directly to us and has us most excited about our future together. We are thrilled to be able to welcome JJ and his family to New Orleans and our community.”

Redick, 6-4, 200, comes off a 2018-19 campaign where the 13-year veteran averaged a career-best 18.1 points per game for the Philadelphia 76ers while shooting .440 from the field, including .397 from three-point range, to go with 2.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Selected 11th overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2006 NBA Draft out of Duke University, Redick has appeared in 836 career regular season games with Orlando, Milwaukee, the L.A. Clippers and Philadelphia, posting averages on 12.9 points on .448 shooting, including .413 from three-point range, as well as 2.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Additionally, Redick has appeared in 110 career postseason games, averaging 10.9 points while shooting .371 from three-point range with Orlando, Milwaukee, the Clippers and Philadelphia.

In conjunction with the move, the Pelicans announced that the team has waived forward/center Christian Wood. Originally claimed off waivers by New Orleans on March 20, 2019, Wood appeared in eight games for the Pelicans last season, averaging 16.9 points and 7.9 rebounds.

Pelicans’ Griffin on Gentry: ‘He is exactly the right coach at the right time for this franchise’

The New Orleans Pelicans exercised its team option on Head Coach Alvin Gentry’s contract for the 2020-21 season, the team announced today.

“We couldn’t be happier to extend our relationship with Alvin,” said Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin. “He is exactly the right coach at the right time for this franchise. As I have mentioned several times previously, the shared vision we have for the future of Pelicans basketball both on and off the floor will enable us to build a roster that fits both culturally and tactically. Perhaps more importantly, the relationship we have built over our many years together will enable us to challenge, empower, and further one another and our franchise.”

Since taking over as the team’s head coach in 2015, Gentry has amassed a record of 145-183 (.442) in New Orleans, including a trip to the Western Conference Semifinals in 2018, and holds a career record of 480-553 (.465) in 16 seasons with Miami, Detroit, the L.A. Clippers, Phoenix and New Orleans. Gentry is one of just six active coaches to have coached in at least 1,000 regular season games and one of eight active coaches with at least 450 career victories.

The Pelicans will look much different next season after reportedly trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round picks, which includes the number four overall pick in this year’s draft. Also, New Orleans will have the number one overall pick in this year’s draft, which will most definitely be Duke star Zion Williamson.

With the talent on this roster, the Pelicans could be a playoff team in the Western Conference, but no matter what happens, the Pelicans are in a good place.

 

Pelicans 0-3 since Cousins’ trade

Pelicans are now 0-3 since trading for DeMarcus Cousins. Concern? It has only been three games, and it will take time for everybody to get comfortable. End of the day, many were quick to crown the Pelicans as the number eight seed in the Western Conference. I was hoping the Pels would get the eighth seed, so they we could see how their size would matchup against the Warriors. At this point, the Pelicans are 3.5 behind the eighth seeded Nuggets with 22 games to play. Good news is they have three games left against the Nuggets; bad news is they have to jump four teams.

Pick it up Pelicans! Pick it up!