The New Orleans Pelicans hit the lottery jackpot when they landed the No. 1 overall draft pick and took superstar Duke forward Zion Williamson, who was a consensus All-American and the Naismith Player of the Year during his lone season in school.
The 6'8", 275-pound Williamson will be must-see television every time he takes the floor thanks to his eye-popping athleticism, remarkable efficiency and sensational defense, but he'll be flanked by a cast that could make a run to the playoffs even after losing six-time All-Star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Of note, Jrue Holiday is back in the mix after averaging 21.2 points and 7.7 assists last year. The Pels also added Texas center Jaxson Hayes and Virginia Tech shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker in the draft. Both players dominated in Las Vegas Summer League play en route to leading the Pels to the finals.
Here's a sneak preview of the Pels' 2019-20 schedule, their top games, championship odds and a record prediction.
Season Opener: Oct. 23 at Toronto Raptors
Championship Odds: 100-1 (via Caesars)
Full Schedule: NBA.com
Los Angeles Lakers: (First Home Game: Nov. 27)
There's a huge gap between the Pels' matchups between the Lakers and every other team they'll face next year in terms of drama and entertainment.
The Davis trade sent the big man packing to L.A. for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and a bunch of draft picks. All four of them will share the floor in different uniforms next season, making for an odd sight when they first tip off on Nov. 27.
Also, Davis will be making his return to New Orleans, where fan response to the big man will be something to see after he forced a trade out of town.
Furthermore, Williamson and LeBron James will be sharing the court. Williamson has the potential to be the league's best player on a yearly basis like James and can make a seismic first-year impact like him as well.
With the Lakers a clear championship contender after adding Davis, we'll see how Williamson and the rest of the young Pels step up.
Dallas Mavericks: (First Home Game: Oct. 25)
Pels vs. Dallas Mavericks may end up being a perennial Western Conference title matchup down the road with Williamson leading the Pels and 2018-19 Rookie of the Year and nightly triple-double threat Luka Doncic piloting the Dallas Mavericks.
Pels vs. Mavs is highly unlikely to form the West title bout this year, but Williamson and Doncic may be the league's two unquestioned best players in the not-too-distant future.
Furthermore, Williamson will face off with another unicorn in 7'3" forward Kristaps Porzingis, the versatile big man who is returning from a torn ACL that has kept him out for a season-and-a-half.
Another subplot exists here, as the Pelicans and Mavericks could be fighting for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
The competition should be fierce as always in the West, and New Orleans and Dallas may be too young and inexperienced to take the next step. Still, the talent on both sides is undeniable, and if the players' development accelerates, then these games will carry additional meaning.
The Pels aren't about to win an NBA title, but they may be the Association's most surprising team next season. President of basketball operations David Griffin has assembled what looks to be the league's best draft class, and he also added a haul for Davis.
That new talent may take time to jell, but the deep Pels have a player in Williamson who could carry the league torch, much like James has for two decades.
Look for them to finish over .500 and make the playoffs to kick off the Williamson era.
Record Prediction: 45-37