New York Knicks fans may not be able to root for their team in the play-in tournament, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t root for their draft stock to rise. For that reason, it’s time to talk about the New Orleans Pelicans, and not because of Zion Williamson.
Sure, a lot of New York fans would like for Williamson to make his way to The Big Apple and team up with former Duke teammates RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, but that isn’t what this piece is about.
Without Williamson, who’s been out for the entire season, the Pelicans have a chance to snag the No. 8 seed in the West with a win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. What does that have to do with the Knicks?
Well, it if happens, New York will move up from having the 12th best lottery odds to the 11th best lottery odds.
New York Knicks fans need to cheer for the Pelicans to beat the Clippers.
New Orleans broke up the CJ McCollum-Damian Lillard duo in Portland ahead of the 2022 trade deadline and it’s turned out to be the best move that the team could’ve made.
In the 26 games that McCollum played in for the Pelicans during the regular season, he averaged 24.3 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.5 rebounds. He shot 49.3% from the field and 39.4% from the 3-point line.
New Orleans has gone 9-2 with both McCollum and Brandon Ingram in the lineup, including Wednesday night’s 113-103 win over San Antonio in the first play-in game. McCollum scored a game-high 32 points (12-of-23) and Ingram was the Pelicans’ second-highest scorer with 27 (11-of-19).
As for Friday night’s matchup against Los Angeles, New Orleans is in a favorable position, and for an unfortunate reason. Earlier today, it was announced that Paul George had entered the health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Clippers are 24-27 in games played without George this year and are 18-13 in games played with the seven-time All-Star. He only played in 31 games during the regular season due to an injured right elbow.
If Los Angeles can’t find a way to win without him on Friday, the Clippers will be done for the year. That’d be disappointing for LA fans (we’re looking at you as well, Lakers), but the Knicks would benefit, which is all that matters, right?
New Orleans and Los Angeles will tip off at 10:00 p.m. ET on Friday night on TNT. Go Pelicans! Help New York out with this draft assist.