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Zion Williamson Off to Historic Start Through First 10 NBA Games

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It took some time, but Zion Williamson was sure worth the wait.

This year’s No. 1 overall pick missed the first three months of the season due to a knee injury.

Since making his debut on January 22nd, Williamson has brought the same level of rim-racking dunks and excitement that we saw from his lone season at Duke.

Williamson has simply been outstanding through 10 games with the Pelicans, putting together incredible numbers in short order.

Through his first stretch of games, Williamson is reaching feats that we have only seen by Hall of Famers like Shaquille O’Neal.

Williamson has become the only player not named Michael Jordan to score 20 points in eight of his first 10 games and is averaging a remarkable 22.7 points in 27.5 minutes per game.

When playing against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, Williamson dropped a career-high 31 points.

In doing so, he joined an elite group of teenagers that have reached that mark.

Not only did Williamson record a 30-point game faster than any of those player mention on that list, but he was also quick to repeat that effort.

Last night, Williamson scored 32 points against the Oklahoma City Thunder, joining Luka Doncic as the only other 19-year-old to record consecutive 30-point games.

The numbers are historic and his impact is being felt too, as the Pelicans are surely playing better basketball with Williamson in the fold.

Without Zion, the Pelicans started the year 18-27 through 45 games. Over the last 10 games with Zion, the Pelicans are 5-5 with a +54 point differential overall.

Ja Morant has all but sealed up the Rookie of the Year talk, as he has put the Memphis Grizzlies in playoff position at this point in the season.

Still, if Zion Williamson leads the Pelicans from 5.5 games back to surpass the Grizzlies with only 27 games left to be played, we could be having a very different conversation on Rookie of the Year come the end of the season.

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Mike Conley Jr. Removed From the Utah Jazz Starting Lineup Amid Slump

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When the Memphis Grizzlies traded for Mike Conley Jr. in July, it appeared that he was the finishing piece that would put their roster over the top.

Conley was coming off a season with the Grizzlies in which he averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game as one of the best point guards in the NBA.

Utah expected him to be the perfect fit alongside All-Star shooting guard Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, but that hasn’t worked out as planned.

Now the Jazz have decided to make a move to spark their team after losing eight of their last 12 games by sliding Conley to the bench.

The move to add Royce O’Neale into the starting lineup is aimed to bolster the defense of that group, with O’Neale being the teams best perimeter defender.

By moving O’Neale to play with that unit, Joe Ingles can slid into the backcourt alongside Mitchell and take on a more prominent role on offense.

Ingles and Rudy Gobert are potent together in the pick and roll and taking the ball out of Conley’s hands with that starting group is aimed to help that pairing flourish as well.

On the other hand, Conley now moves to the bench, where he can form a really dynamic scoring punch with Jordan Clarkson.

Conley is averaging 13.4 points and a career-low 4.1 assists per game across 34 games played with the Jazz.

Next year will be the final season of a massive five-year, $152.6 million contract he signed with the Grizzlies. The Jazz are on the hook to pay Conley $34.5 million for the 2020-21 NBA season.

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Hornets’ Guard Malik Monk Suspended Indefinitely for Violating Anti-Drug Policy

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Malik Monk was in the middle of his pivotal third season in the NBA and was just hitting his stride with a recent hot streak.

Unfortunately that string of good play now comes to the end due to his conduct off the court, as Monk has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA for violating their anti-drug policy.

There is no indication what Monk has failed the test for, but he will need to follow the NBA’s program to be reinstated into the league.

Monk was the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, after being the SEC Player of the Year in his lone season at Kentucky.

Since entering the league, Monk has struggled to find his footing and that same level of success, but he was just recently on a great run of scoring.

The suspension paired with his better play has led some to question whether it was performance-enhancing drugs that he was suspended for, although we don’t know that at this time.

When Deandre Ayton and John Collins were suspended this season, each received 25-game bans and were then able to return to the floor.

The substances they were suspended for were also announced to the public at the time of their suspensions.

The fact that we don’t know what he was suspended for, or how long of a suspension he will receive is certainly an interesting distinction when it comes to Monk.

It will be interesting to see what information comes out about Monk’s suspension in the coming days and if an actual timetable is put on his return.

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Stephen Curry to Return to the Lineup on Sunday Against the Washington Wizards

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The Golden State Warriors season essentially ended on October 30th, when an awkward fall resulted in a broken hand for Stephen Curry.

Curry has since been sidelined for four months and in his absence, the Warriors have gone 11-43 and sit with the wowarst record in the NBA.

Luckily things are about to get a lot better for Warriors fans, as Curry is set to return to lineup for Golden State on Sunday.

Adding a six-time All-Star, three-time champion and two-time MVP back into the starting lineup is sure to help the Warriors win a few more games down the stretch.

In the four games Curry played this year he shot 24% from three-point range, which is something he will look to clean up over the final games of this season.

Golden State has their eyes toward the future, looking to land a top lottery pick to their roster and incumbent Big Three of Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.

The Warriors have 25 games left this season and are four games behind the closest team for the worst record in the NBA.

As long as Golden State finishes with one of the three worst records in the NBA, they will have the best possible odds of winning the lottery. So Curry’s arrival should not hurt their position in that regard.

Instead Curry will bring some excitement to an ailing fan base, while building some chemistry with Andrew Wiggins and the other young Warriors that may be on the roster next season.

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