A part of me understands limiting Zion's minutes. It's long term thinking and given his history you don't know how his body will respond. The other part of me wants to suggest that the Pelicans "do it or don't". Eventually you're going to have to take off the bubble wrap. He's not coming off an injury. He's supposed to be in great shape. What gives? The unfortunate thing is that doctor's job probably depends on Zion being healthy so he's being overly cautious. What it shows me is that the Pelicans aren't playing for this years playoffs.
But enough about Zion. Everybody's talking about Zion. I want to focus my energy elsewhere. Particularly the old guys. J.J. Redick and Jrue Holiday. I know Holiday is only 29, but compared to most of his teammates he's ancient.
I love how Holiday doesn't out quick anybody on offense. He just grinds his way into the paint and hits a soft turn around jumper from between the free throw and dotted lines. He's so patient. On the other hand 35 year old J.J. Redick is a ball of energy. He's constantly doing something. Cutting or setting a screen or running around screens or shooting or driving. He must wear dudes out.
Holiday led the team with 36 minutes and finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals while guarding Donovan Mitchell of Utah. Redick came off the bench to play 26 minutes and scored 21 points, with 4 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The duo really shined at the end of the 1st quarter where they took over the game and helped the Pelicans build a 26-23 lead. Starting at 1:34 left in the quarter Holiday drove to the basket and kicked out to Redick from mid-range, but he didn't take the shot and also drove to the basket where he found Holiday again on the baseline for an easy layup. They had the Jazz defense all kinds of turned around. On the next Pelican possession Redick drove to the basket for a layup and drew a foul. He, of course, made the free throw. Next possession it was Holiday's turn again as he hit one of his before mentioned short jumpers from the paint. Redick finished off the quarter by drawing a charge.
Holiday had 18 first half points and Redick had 16. Although both of their productions slipped in the second half it wasn't their fault the Pelicans lost a 60-48 halftime lead. The Pelicans biggest problem of the night was having no presence at the rim. Nobody blocks or even changes shots and the Jazz took full advantage.
The Pelicans are not without faults, but they have a lot of bright spots for their future. And the future is what they are playing for, but be careful because the future becomes the present sooner than you think.