In my opinion, one of the most underappreciated things in sports, is the importance of winning the fans over. Winning over the fans has been the driving force of sports since the beginning of time. Basketball players have been known to change cities and states just to win over a new audience. A few years ago, I got to experience this first hand. I’m a diehard New York Knicks fan, and when they traded me my favorite player, I was devastated. But just like every other Knicks fan, I wasn’t about to let the Knicks win me over. So I tweeted. And then I blogged about my anguish. I wrote a letter to the Knicks, and even wrote a song to make my feelings
The team that won the NHL’s Stanley Cup in the drought-breaking 2017-18 season is looking to retain its crown in the upcoming year. The Golden Knights have been able to create a high-octane squad of playmaking stars, and they could be the favorites to make another run at the Cup next season. With a variety of solid veterans on board, Vegas has a lot of big names to go with its star-studded lineup, which has many players that have proven themselves capable of winning big.
Defining greatness is difficult, even more so in sports. Athletes and coaches argue about who is truly the best and why. But this is not about evaluating who is the best or how we should measure our favorite athletes. This is about what we know about greatness in sports.
The New Orleans Pelicans come after a disappointing season in which Zion Williamson and the team finished in 11th place. finished in first place in the Western Conference, and face a move in the 2021 offseason. There have already been significant trade rumors, but however this plays out, the Pelicans roster for the 2021-22 season will look very different. There’s at least one player who wants to stay in the Big Easy with him – that’s second-year player Nickel Alexander-Walker.
New Orleans Pelicans: Transactions or other changes this off-season
Sion Williamson and Nickale Alexander-Walker | Photo Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images In Williamson’s first two years, the Pelicans didn’t make the playoffs. If they don’t make the playoffs again in 2021-22, it could have major contractual implications. After his third year, he can sign a five-year, high-interest rookie contract. The size of these contracts, currently over $200 million, usually provides an incentive for a player to stay. But if the Pelicans continue to fail, Williamson may not get the payment. Two years later, he became a free agent. As unlikely as it is, Williamson has that kind of leverage, and Pelicans manager David Griffin has to be careful. Griffin has plenty of room to make an impact in the 2021 offseason. The Anthony Davis trade yielded New Orleans swingman Brandon Ingram, point guard Lonzo Ball, and numerous draft and trade picks. Ingram has good trade value, and the picks can be helpful in finding a good deal. Ball is a free agent this season, and if he gets a significant offer, the Pelicans could let him go. If they let Ball go, it could mean more opportunities for another guard that the Pelicans drafted in the same class as Williamson and that the former Duke point guard likes very much.
Zion Williamson thinks Nickel Alexander-Walker could be a big one
With all the hype surrounding 2019 draft pick Zion Williamson, it’s easy to forget that the Pelicans have received two other first round picks this year. At No. 8, they got their first center from Texas, Jackson Hayes. Nine picks later, they took Virginia Tech quarterback Nickell Alexander-Walker at number 17. In his first season, Alexander-Walker has mostly watched his teammates from the bench. The native of Toronto, Canada, plays just 12.6 minutes per game. He averaged 5.7 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in limited playing time. In the second campaign, Alexander-Walker got a lot more points. He averaged 21.9 minutes and increased his production to 11 points, 2.2 assists and 3.1 rebounds. He started 13 of the 46 games he played in, and he exceeded his average in those games. According to NBA.com, Alexander-Walker was averaging 19 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. This performance gives his teammates and coaches confidence that the young defender can become a regular in the future. Williamson said recently about his 6-foot-4 teammate: He is always ready when his number is called. He’s been in this position before, and he’s shown up before. Nickale does it, we expect it because we know how great it can be. Such a show of confidence from a team’s franchise star is usually a good sign for a player’s long-term future. Alexander-Walker is not the only NBA player in his family. His cousin, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, is the star quarterback of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Two future NBA stars grew up 40 minutes apart: Alexander-Walker lived in Toronto and Gilgeous-Alexander lived in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, according to NBA.com. Gilgeous-Alexander’s father, Vance Alexander, also played a role in the life of his cousin, Nickale. In high school, Gilgeous-Alexander moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to be more visible to college recruiters. He was quickly followed by Alexander-Walker. That pattern repeated itself in the NBA Draft, when the Los Angeles Clippers selected Gilgeous-Alexander from Kentucky at No. 11 in 2018, a year before Alexander-Walker became a Pelicans player. The cousins say they talk to each other almost every day, and usually not about basketball. That will certainly continue regardless of what happens to Alexander-Walker this season. All statistics provided by Basketball Reference EPILOGUE: Zion Williamson thinks it would be cool to have Lonzo Ball back with the PelicansOn Christmas day, the new LA Rams went on the road and upset the defending Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints, in a shootout 34-31. It was a great performance by the Rams, with Todd Gurley and Jared Goff really turning it on for LA. And, Coach Sean McVay gave credit to the defense for holding Drew Brees to only 317 yards throwing.. Read more about new orleans pelicans report and let us know what you think.
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