Zion Williamson is returning from injury, and the New Orleans Pelicans are getting extremely lucky. They have a shot of making it to the playoffs with Zion, as long as they continue their recent streak. Luckily for them, there’s a lot that can happen in just one day of NBA basketball!

The “Nba pelicans” is a team in the NBA. They could make the most of Zion Williamson’s return next season with a little lottery luck. Read more in detail here: pelicans nba.

New Orleans Pelicans Could Make the Most of Zion Williamson's Return Next Season With a Little Lottery Luck

It hasn’t been easy, but the New Orleans Pelicans can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Despite missing franchise star Zion Williamson for the entire 2021-22 season, the 35-44 Pelicans have punched their way to the play-in round. They’ll have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017-18.

But hold on! There’s more! Williamson will make his long-awaited return to play next season, giving New Orleans one of the league’s top talents, barring a surprising deal. Even better, when the season begins in October, there’s a possibility he’ll be joined by at least one outstanding talent.

The Pelicans overcome Zion Williamson’s absence and outperformed expectations.

Let’s put a stop to one thing. The Pelicans should be happy of themselves for reaching the play-in round, but they are still nine games under.500. They would have missed the playoffs for the fourth year in a row if there had been no play-in round, and they would have yet another losing record.

Given New Orleans’ second-half comeback, it’s difficult to criticize the team.

The Pels started 1-12 with Zion sidelined indefinitely due to a broken foot. New Orleans struggled to remain in the play-in race after Williamson’s contentious choice to continue his rehab away from the club. By February 1, the club had a record of 18-32, putting them in sole possession of the West’s 12-seed.

The Pelicans, though, turned the switch just as many were debating if it was time to move Zion and start again. New Orleans won its first four games in February, including three on the road, and its first four games after the All-Star break. New Orleans has been playing winning basketball for nearly two months, collecting a 17-12 record since February 1st, thanks to newcomer CJ McCollum, star Brandon Ingram, and unexpected youngster Herbert Jones.

What’s more amazing about New Orleans’ turnaround, apart from the fact that it was accomplished with Williamson out, is that its record should be much better. The Pelicans have the eighth-best offensive rating since the start of February, ahead of clubs like the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and Philadelphia 76ers. They do, however, have the sixth-best defensive rating in the league, ahead of the 76ers, Utah Jazz, and Golden State Warriors.

In the play-in round, the Pelicans will face the San Antonio Spurs. If they win, they’ll most likely play the Los Angeles Clippers or Minnesota Timberwolves for the eighth and final playoff place.

New Orleans still has a chance to get a first-round selection.

If the Lakers’ selection remains at No. 8, the Pelicans will have a 6% probability of moving up to No. 1 with that pick.

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— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) April 6, 2022

The Pelicans have a chance to make the playoffs this season, but they aren’t projected to go very far. New Orleans’ happy-go-lucky streak will most likely come to an end against the Suns in the first round.

However, owing to the Los Angeles Lakers’ ineptness, the future is as bright as ever.

Last summer, the Lakers added Russell Westbrook to a roster that already included LeBron James and Anthony Davis, a former Pelican. However, the results were abysmal, with LA going 31-48 on their path to elimination.

The Lakers have the eighth-worst record in the NBA as of Thursday. They have a 26.3 percent probability of receiving a top-four choice and a 6.0 percent chance of winning the lottery. However, it is unlikely that the Purple and Gold will add one of the draft’s top talents.

New Orleans has LA’s first-round selection this year, one of three obtained in the controversial Davis trade, according to the 2019 Davis deal. The Pels would retain the selection if it fell in the top 10, which means the Lakers could win the lottery and the Pels would still receive the pick.

Not only may the Pelicans reach the playoffs, but they also have a one-in-four chance of landing a top-four choice and a chance to choose a future star like Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren or Duke’s Paolo Banchero.

Even if the Pelicans miss the playoffs, there’s still a possibility (although a little one) of landing a top-four choice if the Los Angeles chances don’t go their way. While the Pelicans transferred their first-round selection to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for McCollum, the deal will only go through if the pick falls between five and fourteen. However, there’s a 7.1 percent chance it’ll make the top four, and a 1.5 percent chance it’ll win it all. It’s not probable, but it’s conceivable.

So the Pelicans are going to get two top-four picks? Technically, they can, but the chances are small. But making the playoffs while still adding an important component to their core is a triumph in and of itself.

The Pelicans are hoping that a healthy Zion can lead them to victory next season.

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In theory, the Pelicans have already cashed in on a decade’s worth of lottery luck by signing Williamson, a generational possibility. Zion’s overall image has been tainted by injuries, but when fit, he’s a one-in-a-million athlete.

Williamson, a 20-year-old, averaged 27.0 points on 61.1 percent shooting from the field in 61 games last season. The 6-foot-6 power forward also averaged 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, earning him All-Star recognition for the first time in his career.

In theory, if Zion doesn’t participate in any play-in or playoff games this season, he’ll return in 2022-23 primed for revenge. From there, he’ll have All-Great colleagues Ingram and McCollum, a talented second-year forward in Jones, and a possible star youngster on his side to help the Pels reclaim their prominence.

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Williamson’s long-term status with the Saints, his return would be a tremendous boost for the team. Add in another wonder from this year’s draft, and the Pelicans might be on their way to a long playoff run next year.

Basketball Reference provided all statistics.

RELATED: For the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson’s Extended Absence Is a Blessing in Disguise

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