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Zion Williamson is here to save us

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We have that and more in Tuesday’s NBA newsletter.

New Orleans Pelicans v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The New Orleans Pelicans had their preseason opener on Monday, which means Zion Williamson had his first NBA appearance on Monday. Just a minute and 45 seconds into that first NBA appearance, Zion did this.

This is going to be great.

Zion Watch last year during his season at Duke felt an awful lot like Blake Griffin’s first healthy season in the NBA (2010-11), and it looks like Zion’s NBA rookie season will be much the same. The guy is just pure electricity on the court, and you’ll never want to miss a highlight. It helps that the Pelicans appear to be a compelling team, and that Zion has a couple of great passers in Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday. Having some ball movement on the court allows stuff like this to happen.

Yes, yes. This is going to be great.

Middle Path

Fallout continues from the Rockets’ imbroligio over Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong Kong tweet. The Chinese government canceled some upcoming NBA G League games involving the Rockets’ affiliate (Rio Grande Valley Vipers) in China, and then canceled a dedication of a new Play and Learn Center the league and Nets were going to unveil in Shanghai on Tuesday. CNBC reports Chinese broadcasters have “temporarily” halted NBA preseason broadcasts.

The NBA’s first statement on Sunday totally misfired, and led everyone to assume the worst about the league’s priority. There was no other assumption available. I wrote about the limits of the NBA’s commitment to free speech ideals as it related to the quick Morey backtracking.

Adam Silver released a broader statement early Tuesday, but the only item of note is that in it the commissioner says the league “will not put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues.”

That means that Silver won’t have to address new Nets governor Joseph Tsai’s long statement on the Hong Kong protests being launched by a separatist movement and the historical context of the Nanjing Massacre.

This isn’t over, unfortunately. Stand by the next twist and turn.

Links

Game 4 of the WNBA Finals is Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Washington can clinch its first WNBA title with a win, or we can head to a Game 5. Matt Ellentuck writes about how Elena Delle Donne and Ariel Atkins saved the Mystics in Game 3 by playing hurt.

Ricky O’Donnell on the genius of the Raptors’ $31 million golden parachute for Kyle Lowry.

Speaking of the Raptors, a weekly series from Alex Wong and William Lou on the reigning NBA champions called “Run It Back”? YES.

Trae Young nutmegged the everlasting goodness out of J.J. Redick.

Matt Yglesias with the straight political context for the China/NBA spat. If you wanted to take this whole headache and add the history of neoliberalism to the mix ...

Tom Scocca argues that the NBA should abandon China.

10 NBA players to root for no matter what.

Mike Sykes on LeBron’s footwear struggles.

Noted corner three impresario Danny Green says he’s never had as much space as with LeBron and Anthony Davis on the floor.

Kelly Dwyer’s Heat preview is available for free to the public.

Chris Herring writes that this could be James Harden and the Rockets’ best, last shot.

Be excellent to each other.