(via Sports Illustrated)

To nobody’s surprise, Zion Williamson was the first name off the board in Thursday night’s draft. For the Pelicans, the arrival of Williamson sparks a new chapter in their history, one that hopefully ends in a Championship.

But make no mistake about it: David Griffin and the Pelicans are not rushing into anything. Despite all the hype and expectations on Zion, the team has made it clear that they have no intention of just handing the franchise over to him. He will have to earn his status with the Pelicans, as EVP David Griffin made clear on WWL Radio:

“It’s not going to be something where I want people to just expect this is instantaneous.”

“Everything that we’re doing from now is going to be about long-term sustainable success. This is Jrue Holiday’s team. This is not somebody who’s supposed to be the savior of this franchise,” Griffin said.  “This is a 19-year-old kid who’s going to spend this year learning how to play winning NBA basketball.”

Griff was able to get an amazing haul in the Anthony Davis trade, but his value is beyond that of making trades. He is instilling a winning culture for the Pelicans, something they have not had since their NBA debut. They have a while to go until they get there — these things do not happen overnight.

But these latest comments are certainly a good way to start and will help ensure Zion Williamson takes his time in becoming the best version of himself on the basketball floor.