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Every reason the ‘Zion Williamson returning to Duke’ rumors are completely absurd

This makes no sense.

NBA: NBA Draft Lottery Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

For some reason, a pocket of NBA fans and pundits believe Zion Williamson — the de facto No. 1-overall pick in this year’s upcoming NBA Draft — should go back to Duke for a year because the New Orleans Pelicans unexpectedly won the draft lottery, not the New York Knicks.

Seriously. Here are some tweets from real-life verified accounts here to prove it:

Williamson even said he considered staying at Duke for his sophomore season because he loves Duke and if he “didn’t have as much at stake,” he would stay another year.

Returning to Duke might be the worst decision Williamson could possibly make, and any grown adults with any semblance of clout should be side-eyed into oblivion if that’s their actual opinion. Here are all the reasons why Williamson shouldn’t just accept his fate as the face of the Pelicans, he should embrace it.


That’s how much money Williamson will make before taxes when the Pelicans offer him 120 percent of the rookie scale, and that doesn’t even include endorsements or the shoe deal with whichever company throws the kitchen sink at him.

That is absolutely life-changing money, no matter how much is taken away in taxes. A kid from Spartanburg, South Carolina, would be able to retire his parents and live the life of his wildest dreams, playing professional basketball in the best league on the planet.

He’ll also be starting his second contract a year sooner — which is when players are really able to cash in. There’s a major benefit to being a year younger as he starts every subsequent contract of his career.

He’s not giving that up — because hE dOeSn’T wAnT tO pLaY iN nEw OrLeAnS.

New Orleans is actually an incredible place to live

The food is amazing. The atmosphere is incredible. The night life is electric. Mardi Gras in New Orleans is unmatched. It’s not New York City, but it also isn’t Spartanburg, South Carolina. That’s what Williamson knows. He even said he hasn’t been to New Orleans. Take him to Bourbon Street, get that man some beads, and he’ll be just fine.

Uhhh, didn’t Williamson already get hurt?

Williamson already watched his playing career flash before his eyes. He suffered a Grade-I knee sprain when his sneakers exploded mid-game back in February, but it could have been far worse — and if it was, he never would have seen a penny for it. There is no benefit to returning to Duke.

What’s the alternative to making $9,744,840?

Approximately $0, which is how much college basketball players are paid. Actually, the word “approximately” is being generous.

He will be THE MAN in New Orleans

If the Knicks won the draft lottery, selected Williamson and opted to keep him, they still would have tried their best to (and probably successfully) signed both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving this summer.

That would have taken the ball out of Williamson’s hands. Instead, we get to see a team literally build a shrine dedicated to a player unlike the league has ever seen.

This is his team. When Drew Brees retires, New Orleans will be Williamson’s city. David Griffin helped build a championship contender around LeBron James in Cleveland. This is the man holding the keys to your future. I’d like my chances, too.

He possibly would have ended up in New Orleans anyway

The Knicks could have traded Williamson in a package for Anthony Davis. Maybe this was just fate playing itself out.

This is the only reaction I’d want to someone winning me in a lottery

How could you not want to play for this man?!

Lil Wayne

I mean, there a handful of people I’d want to have sitting court side and cheering me on at a basketball game. Wayne is a big Pelicans fan but doesn’t show to games very often. Now, he has a reason to.

Williamson’s stepdad already said he’s excited about New Orleans

You can listen to the whole interview here.

Williamson can technically go back to Duke. He hasn’t yet signed an agent, and if a) he’s hellbent on not playing in New Orleans; and b) the Pelicans are hellbent on keeping pick No. 1; he could absolutely return to Cameron Indoor Stadium and run it back.

That would just be a straight-up terrible decision. Secure the bag, Zion. And secure your city.