Zion Williamson should find the possibility of playing for the New York Knicks in the future “a very attractive proposition”, according to Sky Sports NBA analyst Mo Mooncey.
The top pick in the 2019 NBA draft has yet to play this season for the New Orleans Pelicans as he endures the latest injury in a concerning spate of health problems.
After playing just 24 games in his debut NBA campaign, Williamson’s 64 appearances – and All-Star selection – last season appeared to be an encouraging sign of progress, but he has yet to feature this time around after undergoing surgery on a fractured foot in the off-season.
While the Pelicans’ hopes of being competitive have been hampered by Williamson’s injuries, the moves made by the team’s front office since the 2019 draft have hardly helped either.
Decisions to allow the likes of Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball to leave, when they could have formed a playoff contender alongside Williamson and Brandon Ingram, are ones the Pelicans may come to regret.
There was also the hiring – and firing – of Stan Van Gundy, whose tenure with the team lasted just one season after he was appointed in the summer of 2020.
Meanwhile, in New York, the Knicks are attempting to build a new culture, led by president Leon Rose and head coach Tom Thibodeau.
The new regime’s first full campaign saw the Knicks end a seven-year playoff drought, and while following that up is proving challenging, a foundation is certainly being laid at Madison Square Garden.
The latest addition to that foundation may have caught Williamson’s eye, as the Knicks acquired Cam Reddish from the Atlanta Hawks, reuniting him with college team-mate RJ Barrett, who the Knicks drafted third overall in 2019.
There was of course a third star on Kentucky’s 2018-19 roster, Williamson. The Knicks’ acquisition of Reddish has reignited speculation over a possible move to Madison Square Garden in the future for Williamson, who has previously expressed how much he enjoys playing in New York.
During the latest episode of NBA Heatcheck earlier this week, Mooncey explained why he thinks the move makes sense.
“If I was a young superstar in the NBA, I would not want to be in New Orleans, I would want to be in the Big Apple, the bright lights of Madison Square Garden,” Mooncey said.
“And if I was in charge of the New York Knicks and I had two of Zion Williamson’s best friends on my team, it would make it a very attractive proposition to say, leave New Orleans, where they can barely fill the arena and they’re not getting on national TV, and come over to Madison Square Garden.
“You see what the crowd does for Julius Randle, imagine what it could do for you – all you’ve got to do is get healthy.”
‘Reddish can break out at Knicks’
Reddish could make his Knicks debut in Sunday’s clash with the Los Angeles Clippers, for which a viewing party on the Sky Sports YouTube channel can be watched for free via skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.
The 22-year-old was taken 10th in the 2019 draft by the Hawks, but while at times displaying his potential, has failed to earn major minutes on a stacked Atlanta roster.
“If you remember when he was coming out of high school he was one of the top prospects in the country and then he went and joined up with RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson at university,” Mooncey said.
“So a lot of the attention he was getting before college was taken away by Zion and the amazing things he was doing.
“He’s a very talented basketball player Cam Reddish in his own right. He hasn’t been in the spotlight, if he can break into this Knicks rotation, he has a chance to really come out and show what he is capable of doing.
“I think a lot of people have maybe written him off compared to how they spoke about him three or four years ago, and I feel that’s very unfair because he came into the Atlanta Hawks team where everything is based around Trae Young and John Collins as the second option, he never really got the chance to show what he’s capable of.
“He can really do more than just stand around on the perimeter and wait to shoot three-point shots. I’m excited to see what he can do with the Knicks.”
NBA viewing party: Watch free as Knicks host Clippers
Join Sky Sports for a free, live viewing party as the Los Angeles Clippers visit Madison Square Garden to take on the New York Knicks on Sunday evening.
From 6pm on Sunday, Sky Sports’ YouTube channel, which can be viewed for free via skysports.com and the Sky Sports app, will offer a viewing party hosted by Jaydee Dyer, with expert guidance from NBA analyst Mo Mooncey and three-time NBA champion BJ Armstrong.
At the conclusion of the viewing party, the Sky Sports YouTube channel will show full live coverage as the Washington Wizards host the Boston Celtics in an Eastern Conference match-up from 8:30pm.
The viewing party will see Sky Sports Heatcheck regulars joined by influencers Harry Pinero and Elz the Witch, for the first and second halves, respectively.
Viewers are encouraged to join the party, with the panel taking questions and reacting to your opinions, which can be sent in via the Sky Sports NBA Twitter account.
Live coverage of both games will also be available on Sky Sports Arena.