The New Orleans Pelicans have drafted two All-NBA talents in franchise history, with hopes Zion Williamson will be the third. The summer trades of Chris Paul and Anthony Davis provide plenty of learning moments for the Pelicans and Zion.
The New Orleans Pelicans, then Hornets, drafted Chris Paul 4th in the 2005 NBA Draft. Surrounded by David West, Tyson Chandler, and Peja Stojakovic, Paul grew into a bonafide star. The then newly christened Point God thought the team had reached their ceiling and asked for a trade.
No one can blame Chris Paul for being frustrated with ownership, well, if there was any ownership to blame. George Shinn had hit the road, and the New Orleans franchise was owned by the NBA. The Hornets had already spent a season in Oklahoma City, due to Hurricane Katrina. Still, some hold a grudge against Paul for asking out of town.
Since leaving, Paul has yet to have a season considered unquestionably better than any of his New Orleans years. Sure, Paul reached the Western Conference Finals playing for the Rockets. Considering how that season ended, it is hard to consider a success.
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Actually, considering the playoff burnouts of his Clippers and Rockets tenures, the loss to the Spurs in Game 7 could be considered Paul’s playoff peak. Paul has now bombed out in Los Angeles and Houston and is now readying for a season with the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder.
He was sent to Oklahoma City for Russell Westbrook, a better and younger talent. Even though Westbrook was owed an enormous contract as well, the Rockets parted with four draft picks to be rid of Paul. Paul left New Orleans to enhance his image and legacy.
In two of the largest markets in the world, he failed. Both the Rockets and Clippers built supposedly better teams than the New Orleans squad, yet only once did Paul experience the Western Conference Finals. Now he is on his fourth team and is a prime candidate to be moved before the trade deadline.
Paul is more likely to be a buyout candidate than he is to sign a new contract. He is no doubt a Hall of Fame talent. He played the most years for New Orleans and left seeking a better situation he never found, judging on NBA playoff appearances alone.
The New Orleans Pelicans were finally sold to Tom Benson, and Gayle Benson has taken ownership of the team to another level. David Griffin would argue a championship level. As Griffin said during his NBA Summer League media blitz, ownership is the most important aspect of winning.
Sure, Paul’s Hornets were lacking ownership. Instead of testing himself for another year in New Orleans, and really taking ownership of a growing team, he bolted. As a traveling mercenary, he has tried to take ownership of teams that were not his.
The lack of ownership cannot be overstated. Look at the positive reactions from the news of proper ownership and investment. Still, Paul has never shown patience with his team the way he shows patience on the court.
Blake Griffin and James Harden were bigger stars. Paul left New Orleans wanting to play lead guitar but got to play second fiddle. It is a shock to some star’s system when they no longer get to pick their teams. Paul has reached that stage and is frustrated when looking back on his career’s results.
David Griffin is wasting no time in building a sustainable winning culture around potential future MVP’s Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson. Lack of ownership will not be a problem. On the other side of the trade was Russel Westbrook, who provides his own cautionary tale.
Giving a star player too much control can stifle progress as well.