New York Knicks fans across the globe were hoping and praying that the franchise would land the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft. Of course, the goal was to draft Zion Williamson and kickstart a new era in New York. But that didn't happen. The Knicks ended up with the No. 3 pick and with Williamson going No. 1 to the Pelicans, the Knicks drafted RJ Barrett.
Barrett has performed exceptionally well this season (17.3 PPG) alongside All-Star Julius Randle (23.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 6.1 APG), and the Knicks are in a playoff spot. But Zion Williamson would have taken the franchise to another level because he is most likely the next player to take over the throne as the face of the NBA from LeBron James when The King retires.
Luckily for Knicks fans, Zion Williamson could be a New York Knick someday. An important statement made by Zion this week and a few key factors could set up a chance for the Knicks to acquire the transcendent superstar. Here are the reasons Zion Williamson will play for the New York Knicks in the near future.
5. Zion Williamson Loves Playing In New York
Zion Williamson made a very important remark this week. Williamson claimed that New York is his favorite place to play in the NBA, of course after the Smoothie King Center. Zion is a very self-aware superstar, so he knows he must give priority to the Pelicans and their stadium. But deep down, his love for playing in New York is there.
After all, why would he mention it? Madison Square Garden is a special arena where the best players have historically owned the court. Players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James all had legendary games in the Garden. For Zion, he knows he has the talent to be mentioned among the greats and wants the opportunity to make the Garden his home.
4. The New Orleans Pelicans Are Not Good Enough
The New Orleans Pelicans were expected to be a solid team this season because they have two All-Stars in Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson. Lonzo Ball was one of the most hyped rookies in history, and the marquee signing of Stan Van Gundy was supposed to make the Pelicans a playoff team at the very least.
But the Pelicans are at risk of missing the playoffs entirely, holding the 11th seed in the West with a 25-32 record. The trade rumors around Lonzo Ball have taken his heart out of playing for the team, while Ingram hasn't taken the next step upwards following his All-Star season last year. With New Orleans playing below-average basketball, Zion won't be staying long.
3. The Next Face Of The NBA Belongs In A Big Market
There is always talk on which player will take over the throne from LeBron James. After all, LeBron has been the face of the NBA game for nearly 2 decades and has done an admirable job on and off the court. No player in the NBA has the prestige, box office attraction, and talent that LeBron James has. Except for Zion Williamson.
Other than LeBron James, Zion Williamson is the most hyped rookie in history. Zion has the eyes of the world on him, and he has met expectations. After a strong rookie season, Zion is already a superstar this season. He is averaging 26.8 PPG and 7.2 RPG and is easily the best player on the team. A player of his caliber as the next star of the NBA, he needs to play in the biggest market in the United States.
2. The Knicks Are Competitive Again And Have Cornerstones In Place
The New York Knicks are slowly becoming an attractive franchise again. The coaching is top-notch, the talent is there, and the team plays very hard on both ends. Tom Thibodeau is one of the best defensive coaches in the NBA, and the Knicks rank 1st in opponents PPG. Most importantly, the team has cornerstone talent.
Julius Randle is an All-Star, averaging 23.7 PPG and 10.5 RPG while nailing 46.1% from the field. Randle is in his bag this season, using a mix of physical dominance and skills to dominate the power forward spot. A pairing of him and Zion would be incredibly special to watch, and no other team matches up with them. Immanuel Quickley, a sharpshooting point guard, is blossoming before our eyes.
RJ Barrett is also improving with regards to his All-Star trajectory, and he should be a star in a few years. His friendship and experience playing with Zion will come in handy as they dominated together with Duke. Nothing will welcome home a superstar like Zion like the open arms of a former teammate who made it to the highest level of basketball. A player like Zion can certainly benefit from playing with young stars in the making.
1. Zion Williamson Will Be Granted His Wish Due To The Media Uproar
Zion Williamson mentions one thing about New York, and the media goes crazy. That's how things work in the NBA, but what Zion mentioned is very eye-opening. Zion and Knicks rumors flooded the 2019 draft, to the point that it was almost a forgone conclusion that he was getting drafted there.
Even when that didn't happen, NBA analysts and even former players believe Zion has set the stage to force a trade to New York in the near future with his comments. Williamson loves playing in New York, as he should. Knicks fans adore him, and the entire NBA community knows he belongs in The Garden.
If Williamson already planted the seeds for a move to New York, the power of the media will ultimately force the Pelicans to grant Williamson's wish. The Knicks have the talent and image to attract a top superstar like Zion, and with the media behind it, Williamson will make Madison Square Garden his playground very soon.