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Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry: Zion Williamson’s debut will be ‘circus’

Zion Williamson and Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry

METAIRIE, LA - OCTOBER 16: Alvin Gentry and Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans talk during an all access practice at Ochsner Sports Performance Center in Metairie, Louisiana on October 16, 2019. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

From “dumpster fire” to “circus,” the Pelicans are making progress.

No. 1 pick Zion Williamson will make his NBA debut against the Spurs tomorrow.

New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN:

“One, it’s going to be a circus and everyone knows that,” Gentry said. “What we have to do is focus on the task at hand and that is playing a really good San Antonio team ... It is going to be good to get him out there. I think the big thing for us is we just need to get him out there so all of this goes away and then we can start to figure out rotations and how we are going to play and things we are going to do.

Gentry is right. The game has already been moved to national television, and a wide audience is eager to see Williamson. Better to embrace the magnitude of this game rather than pretending there isn’t more attention. The Pelicans should be prepared for the chaos.

With his his size, athleticism and skill, Williamson is such a distinctive player. That presents challenges in determining how to use him and which players fit best with him. The Pelicans have missed a lot of valuable time to make those assessments. It’s on Gentry to hit the ground running with those decisions, even amid all the surrounding spectacle.