The New Orleans Pelicans’ impressive rookie guard Jose Alvarado dropped a prophecy when he visited the NBA Playoff Central Live set.
Alvardo believes if Zion Williamson returns to the Pelicans next season, the team will go from contenders and catapult into a championship team.
“If we get him. When we get him back, we won’t be just a playoff-contending team. We will be a championship-contending team. I really think that,” Alvarado said.
He spoke positively about the young players and how Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valančiūnas are playing on a “high level.”
“We got some guys that’s ready to start winning some more games,” Alvarado punctuated his comments.
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On March 28, New Orleans announced Jose Alvarado’s two-way contract was converted into a four-year, $6.5M contract extension. The Pelicans’ fan-favorite guard receives a guaranteed $3.4M over the next two years, including $1.5 million on top of the $800K he earned in 2021-22.
Alvarado, 23, signed a two-way deal with New Orleans after going unselected in last year’s draft following four collegiate seasons at Georgia Tech. The 6-foot guard was a pivotal player in the Pelicans’ success in the regular season and during their playoff run. He gave 17-year veteran Chris Paul fits in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs.
This weekend, Alvarado tweeted, “One day I’m going to win DPOY, Mark my word!”
A lofty goal but attainable if he’s able to increase his playing minutes in New Orleans. He logged only 15.4 minutes per contest in his rookie campaign.
The Brooklyn native averaged 8 PPG, 1.5 assists, and 1.2 steals during the playoffs in 19.5 minutes per contest entering Sunday. He has also shot 48.5% from the floor and 37.5% from the three-point range.
New Orleans’ front office is pondering a deal with Zion Williamson, who missed the 2021-22 regular season and playoffs. When reporters asked Williamson about the possibility of being offered a $181 million extension on his rookie contract, “of course, I couldn’t sign it fast enough,” he eagerly responded.
Other questions linger for New Orleans before the NBA Draft and after the playoffs. David Griffin, Swin Cash, and Trajan Langdon did not offer many clues to how they will handle the Zion deal, new contracts, the draft, and other personnel moves. For the moment, everything’s in a holding pattern. However, if it were up to Jose Alvarado, Zion’s return would lift the Pelicans as championship competitors.
We shall see.