New Orleans -- In front of a crowd of more than 10,000, the Pelicans got to showcase their 2019 squad in front of an eager fan base, who got their first look at their top draft pick, Zion Williamson.
"I think it just shows the love the city has for the Pelicans," Williamson said. "For them to take the time out of their schedule and come here and support us for a little scrimmage, that means a lot to us. We hope we can keep that same energy throughout the year and just have fun with it."
Zion certainly had fun with it, getting to the hoop with agility and authority at times, and even showed-off some range, knocking-down a three in the opening period. Fellow rook Jaxson Hayes, who we saw above the rim often in summer league, picked-up where he left-off with a few dunks of his own.
Not to be outdone by the rookies, JJ Redick got his, knocking-down a string of threes. Redick drew some attention on the bench too, as he and Jrue Holiday brought their kids down to sit with them for part of the scrimmage. Between the family time, fans and fun atmosphere, the team also felt like they got some good work in Saturday too.
"I was happy because I thought we did a great job of competing hard," said Pelicans Head Coach Alvin Gentry. "We got a lot out of it. Usually in these situations right here it ends-up being like an all-star game almost, but I thought our guys competed at a real high level and did a good job of trying to take what we've done in practice and use it in the scrimmage."
Once the fans got their fill of some hoops, they were then treated to some rookie karaoke, where Nickeil Alexander-Walker stole the show.
"I think he was trying to play like he didn't know the words but who doesn't know the words to that song?," said Holiday, whose idea it was to add that segment to the open practice. "But no, he killed it. He would have done way better than I think anybody else would have."
Way better than maybe Zion? Yes. And several others too. And while singing may not be Zion's secret talent, David Griffin gave him a shot at redemption on the court with one final dunk for the crowd, putting an exclamation point on the night.