What’s Next for Zion?

Hey, did you hear? Duke is out of the NCAA Tournament.

Yup. It’s true. After someone made the claim that March is ruled by chaos and that Duke would be unwise to try and coast despite being incredibly favored to win the whole thing, the Blue Devils got bounced by Michigan State in a single-point loss. Gee, who could have called that?

But with the end of Duke we also witness the end of Zion Williamson as a Blue Devil. In the coming weeks and months every sport outlet will inevitably have a Zion Watch about where this young man is headed for his professional career. If you want to know what this is the equivalent of, the answer is the Royal Wedding. That’s right everyone, this whole thing basically boils down to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Basketball Edition.

So, like many of the bloggers out there talking about what traditions are going to be featured in the ceremony and how much Meghan’s dress costs, we’re going to take a look at five teams eyeing Williamson’s talents. What team will win the Zion sweepstakes, and what traditions (if any) will play a role? Let’s dive in and discuss.

1. New York Knicks

Tankathon has the Knicks as the team most likely to get the top pick of the draft. The Knicks desperately need Zion’s help. For some following the team, they’ve been rebuilding for years now. For others they’ve been rebuilding since Patrick Ewing was kept from getting a ring by Michael Jordan. The Knicks have previously had a battery of superstars come through, but none have really elevated New York to become competitive in the East.

Zion would make a difference on the court and off the court alike. On the court, Williamson’s explosiveness on defense allows him to line up great in the front court while also fitting nicely into the Knicks offense style. Off the court, it will be nice for New York to have some serious star power coming right out of school. The kind of star power that a team could build around for branding. Or, barring that, it would be nice if the Knicks were just good again – since, you know, it’s been a while.

2. Los Angeles Lakers

LA won the lottery last year when LeBron James joined the roster. They proceeded to tailspin throughout the season. On the court they couldn’t seem to put anything together to get wins consistently. Off the court there was drama rumors amok about LeBron or Lonzo or this or that (often fueled by Helicopter-Parent-of-the-Century LaVar Ball) with the foundation being “this team doesn’t have enough X to win” where “X” is whatever excuse the Lakers produced that week for not winning.

Williamson could be the element that the Lakers need in order to win – if not in talent alone, certainly in identity. Plus, if Williamson lives up to his insane hype, a James-Williamson combo could be enough to dethrone new era dynasty of the Golden State Warriors. If nothing else, the aging superstar and the up-and-coming superstar would make for some great drama right out of Hollywood! Oh, and speaking of Hollywood, this gives Zion the opportunity to cameo in Space Jam 2 at the end, setting up Space Jam 3: Revenge of the Monstars and concluding the Space Jam trilogy.

3. Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls need Zion Williamson on their team because fans need hope through the offseason that they’ll finally be good again, only to have that hope crushed five games into the season when it turns out all the talent in the world can’t beat out poor management or coaching. Maybe I’m roasting Jim Boylen a bit harder than he deserves – the team has found their footing a bit since Boylen was named head coach mid-season and immediately caused so much drama in the locker room that the players had to have a players-only meeting to discuss things.

Still, I’m not sure how Williamson can help the Bulls get over their current era of mediocracy if he’s dealing with an impatient fanbase quick to throw any current player under the bus and have been demanding changes in the front office, while the front office can’t seem to decide if they’re doing a proper tank or trying to win just enough to miss the playoffs. I suppose, on paper, the idea of Zion playing with Chicago’s front court is exciting, but these are promises that management has made before. Regardless, it’s hard not to get excited about the prospect of Zion coming to Chicago and actually – gasp – helping the Bulls win games and (hopefully) championships.

4. New Orleans Pelicans

The New Orleans Pelicans are kind of like that one kid on the playground with the Charizard Pokemon card, only if the Charizard card demanded to be traded and the kid held out even when another kid said “I’ll give you all my rares, including Raichu, Alakazam, and Mewtwo” because he was convinced that his Charizard was still worth more. Well, if that’s the case then Zion may be the Mew card that finally gets the kid to trade.

If you kept up with that metaphor you either grew up in the 90s/2000s, know the significance of Gen 1 Pokemon cards, and/or spent a lot of time Googling what I was talking about, ultimately to go “but he’s right though.” And right I am – New Orleans would be very wise to offer their prized center to the team winning the Zion lottery because Davis wants out anyway, and Williamson can provide incoming youth that an aging Davis will never reclaim. Not to mention that the New York Knicks, with the potential #1 pick, have had their eye on Davis – and vice versa. With the ability to trade for Zion this makes any post-Davis rebuilding infinitely smoother for the Pelicans, while also replacing an established star with an up-and-coming that they could build a culture around. As interesting as it would be to see Williamson in New York, this could be a win-win for both teams.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers

I initially intended to roast Stephen A Smith for saying he doesn’t want to see Zion Williamson in Cleveland, and since Stephen A Smith is wrong about most things, that should mean Zion should play in Cleveland.

However, Smith brings up a good point: Williamson is getting compared to LeBron an awful lot, and to go to a place where LeBron is crowned a king would draw a lot of unnecessary – and counterproductive – comparisons.

That said, Zion going to the Cavs could be good for him. He’d be playing with established veteran in Kevin Love. And of course, he would be revered.

I get Smith’s concerns, but I don’t necessarily agree with his point – Zion to Cleveland would be great for both parties.