Zion Williamson Says Lonzo Ball Will Do 'Whatever It Takes' to Help Pelicans WinMay 5, 2021
New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson praised teammate Lonzo Ball after Ball's 33-point outing in a 108-103 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
Ball's outburst came after shooting 3-of-18 from the floor as New Orleans lost to Golden State on Monday. According to ESPN's Andrew Lopez, the veteran guard told Williamson he'd be better and duly delivered.
"I'm glad he's my teammate," Williamson said of Ball. "You love to have teammates like that can say stuff like that and come the next day and show out. He just wants to win. That's what I love about Lonzo. He just wants to win. And he'll do whatever it takes to win."
The Pelicans face a big question in the offseason with Ball as he approaches restricted free agency. Because of his contract status, the 23-year-old was the subject of trade rumors but remained in New Orleans through the March 25 deadline.
Ball is having the best year of his career. He's averaging 14.6 points, 5.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds and shooting 41.6 percent from the field and 37.8 percent from beyond the arc.
Perhaps more importantly, the playmaking guard has forged a strong connection with Williamson. According to NBA.com, Williamson's offensive rating is 115.1 with Ball on the court compared to 111.1 when Ball is on the bench.
Restricted free agency can be tricky because it only takes one massive offer on the table to force the team into making a difficult decision. Ball probably won't command a max contract from an outside suitor because he's not yet one of the NBA's elite point guards.
In the outside chance that does happen, the front office may have reservations about committing long term. New Orleans doesn't want to hamstring itself too much financially, thus limiting how it can surround Williamson.
In general, though, Ball has shown through his performance why he deserves to remain a part of the Pelicans' core moving forward.