Report: Zion Williamson to miss weeks to begin regular season

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The Pelicans ruled out No. 1 pick Zion Williamson from their final exhibition game tonight with “right knee soreness.”

That was more than a minor preseason injury being treated with an abundance of caution.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

“Severe” is in the eye of the beholder. A multi-week absence isn’t isn’t catastrophic, but it sounds “severe” to me.

This is a blow to New Orleans and the league.

The NBA planned to aggressively market Williamson, whose high-flying/powerful dunks and other highlight plays draw fans. The Pelicans play four of their first five games on national television. Ratings will be lower with Williamson sidelined.

Williamson is more than just a highlight machine. He’s a good overall player who helps put New Orleans in the playoff race. The margin for error in a loaded Western Conference is so low. This absence could really bite the Pelicans.

Because Williamson has such a distinctive skill set and body type, putting complementary players around him could be challenging. New Orleans has many varying pieces and enough talent to remain somewhat competitive without him. But the process of determining how this team best fits together just hit a major roadblock.