On Thursday, it was announced that New Orleans Pelicans superstar Zion Williamson is officially cleared to return to the floor. This is obviously a huge step in the right direction after Williamson missed the whole 2021-22 season with a nagging foot injury. While his longevity remains a concern, the Pelicans have quite the future to look forward to.

Despite having just the 20th-best record in the regular season, the Pelicans were able to sneak into the playoffs. They shocked many by upsetting the Los Angeles Clippers en route to playing the Suns in the opening round. Despite the eventual exit, they proved their worth. Now, let’s look at some reasons as to why the Pelicans can be considered contenders now that Zion Williamson is cleared to play basketball.

 

3 reasons the Pelicans are contenders with Zion

3. Lineup versatility

As we saw in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Pelicans have guys who can play all over. In today’s NBA, it’s crucial to have guys that can switch and cover virtually anyone on the floor. As shown in the series with the Suns, the Pelicans are filled with guys like that. Virtually no one gave the Pelicans a chance, but they took the defending Western Conference champions to six games. They were able to defend the Suns pretty well, credit to their versatile lineups.