by Alex Poletti
After the first pick was announced at Barclays Center in New York, what many fans suspected and analysts guaranteed became a reality: Zion Williamson became a New Orleans Pelican. To quell any doubt that the Duke superstar was unimpressed with the organization that held the first pick, Zion went above and beyond by turning into a real pelican, showing his dedication to his new organization.
“I know a lot of people thought I wanted to play elsewhere,” Zion says in his new avian form. “But I’m happy as can be now. If this doesn’t show New Orleans fans that I’m ready to ball out, I don’t know what does.”
The 6’7 beast’s transformation was truly majestic, sprouting wings and feathers to become a real pelican. Zion Williamson credits his success in this astonishing turn to Duke Biology department chair Paul S. Manos, Pelicans president Dennis Lauscha and Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
“I couldn’t have done it without those three guys, truly,” the first overall pick says. “Obviously, I talked to Dennis a lot before the draft, so he gave me the encouragement and support to do this. Dr. Manos helped me study the Pelican species so I could have a better understanding of what I was getting into. And of course, Daniel taught me how to truly become a Pelican.”
Sources close to the bird-human hybrid tell The Second String that Day-Lewis took the top prospect through rigorous method acting exercises, including nesting near shore and plunging their heads into the water to catch fish.
Throughout the college season, Williamson distinguished himself as the best in the class, averaging 22.6 points per game and 8.9 rebounds en route to being named the Consensus National College Player of the Year as a freshman. Speculation arose that Zion might be unhappy ending up in New Orleans during the airing of the Draft Lottery results; when it was announced that the Pelicans held the first overall pick, Williamson looked like a man who just found out he was the father on “Maury.”
Zion’s latest display has impressed Pelicans management, ensuring that he will be a contributor to the revamped New Orleans squad in 2019 and beyond. However, some critics have concerns about how Zion’s ability will translate to the professional level, especially now that he has traded in his hands for Pelican wings.
“We think that Zion will still be the player we expected him to be,” Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon says. “Besides it will be much easier now to ruin his potential and clip his wings.”