It wasn’t that long ago that the Pelicans were an ascendent squad. On Jan. 27, the Pelicans were third in the Western Conference hierarchy. As of today, they’re entombed at ninth. There is still enough time to emerge from the play-in hell, but Zion Williamson’s health is vital. His inability to stay on the court is reminiscent of early Process-era Embiid. One can only hope it works out as well for Williamson as it has for Embiid.
The Pelicans’ long-term success is contingent on Williamson’s availability and since he went down New Orleans has lost 19 of 27 games. Fortunately, they’re only two games behind the 6th seed, but they can’t let that gap expand.
Williamson’s hamstring strain originally had an expected recovery time of three to four weeks. However, New Orleans, Incredible Hulk of a power forward has now been on the mend for two months now, and there’s no indication he’ll be back in action soon, either.