Is Zion Williamson the small market savior?

Could Zion Williamson be savior of small market teams like OKC Thunder? (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
Could Zion Williamson be savior of small market teams like OKC Thunder? (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Zion Williamson, Frank Jackson, NBA Summer League. OKC Thunder areas of focus (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

A new regime on the way?

Yet, there may be hope via this year’s top draft pick Zion Williamson. In his media session with the Pelicans, he stated his desire to be a ‘lifer’ in New Orleans akin to what Kobe and Dirk Nowitzki did with the Lakers and Mavericks respectively. Granted, players say things and change their minds all the time as OKC Thunder fans know all too well.

As per of Macklin Stern of Complex:

"All of the hype has led to this point. Williamson is set to embark on his NBA journey, eager to lead the Pels to their first chip. Not only that, but contrary to the trend du jour of superstars taking their talents to larger NBA markets, he plans to remain in New Orleans for the long haul. “Growing up, I loved what Kobe did and Dirk did… My intentions are to stay with the Pelicans my whole career,” he tells Complex in an exclusive interview."

But what should give OKC Thunder fans hope is Williamson seems like a different kind of player. I bring this up because the NBA is arguably the most trendy of all major league sports. Not just in terms of systems but in terms of players dictating what their peers tend to do.

Case in point, the LeBron James era as the face of the NBA has all been about player control. Prior to LeBron, it was unheard of for the top player to depart his team (let alone his home town) to go align with two other top-five superstars that early in a career. To say the LeBron, Wade, Bosh changed the dynamics of the league is an understatement.

And, he didn’t stop there. He returned to Cleveland to win a title and once accomplished, he exited to move to the more celebrity and production driven Los Angeles. While Kevin Durant left OKC broken hearted to go join a 73-9 winning team with three (four if you count Iguodala) All-Stars on it and a two time MVP. Then he left again this summer to go form another duo based super team with great depth New York (Nets).

Plus, for the first time in league history, a current NBA Champion MVP left his team to move to another squad. Kawhi Leonard didn’t just walk away from his championship team he dramatically affected at least three other teams with his decision. By recruiting and enticing Paul George to request a trade his efforts may well have prematurely pushed two franchises into rebuilding modes (OKC Thunder and Raptors).