The 2022-23 NBA season is over, but the offseason is in full swing, and the 2023 NBA draft is upon us on June 22nd.
As teams look to build on their existing rosters, there are a handful of players with issues this offseason that they need to address sooner rather than later.
With that, a trio of basketball stars can be seen Chris Broussard‘s latest “Under Duress” list, featured in Thursday’s “The important things first.”
3. Yes Morant, Memphis Grizzlies
The outlook: Morant has had another spectacular regular season on the court, but the attention is elsewhere on the two-time All-Star. After already being suspended for eight games in March, Morant was suspended indefinitely by Memphis in May. Commissioner Adam Silver said an announcement about the guard’s fate would come “shortly after” the NBA Finals, which ended Monday. Morant is likely to be suspended by the league, though it’s unclear for how long.
Broussard’s thoughts: “Yes, take this time [the looming suspension] to make yourself right You talked about being stressed. You talked about the feeling of pressure. … You didn’t screw up, young man. you are still young America loves a comeback story. You can always come back and be one of the faces of the league. You can still be an MVP. You can still win championships. But you have to use that time wisely to get it right.”
2. Joel Embid, Philadelphia 76ers
The outlook: Embiid has put together a sensational 2022-23 campaign. Averaging 33.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game and a shooting average of 54.8/33.0/85.7, he became the first NBA MVP of his career. However, Embiid and the 76ers lost again in the second round of the playoffs, a round the franchise has not advanced since 2001. Additionally, star guard James Harden appears to be on the verge of resigning from his contract for the 2023-24 season and is reportedly considering a return to the Houston Rockets, for whom he played from 2012-2021.
Broussard’s thoughts: “Joel, you’ve been begging for the MVP for the last few years. Now you finally have it. Want what comes with it? I’m talking about scrutiny. I’m talking massive, intense, never.” – End of the exam until you win the championship. Your two rivals made it, Giannis [Antetokounmpo]MVP, championship; [Nikola] Jokic, MVPs, Championship. Joel, the trial won’t end until you win. I’m sorry, you can ask Patrick Ewing. He’s never won an MVP and people always talked about it no matter how great he was. … the pressure is great. I believe in you, but you have to make it.
Zion Williamson is under pressure this week as his NBA future remains unclear
1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans
The outlook: The Pelicans were the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference before Williamson was out last season with a season-ending hamstring injury. At his best, Williamson has played at the All-Star level and demonstrated his superstar potential. However, he only played 114 games in his four-year NBA career due to an injury, and controversial relationship rumors about him have been circulating the internet in recent weeks. New Orleans is reportedly considering including Williamson in a trade package that would put them in position to pick G-League star Scoot Henderson in the 2023 NBA draft.
Broussard’s thoughts: “I know it’s going to hurt. I know you’re going to be like, ‘Man, they don’t believe in me. Man, they think I’m no good anymore.’ You have to accept all of this and realize that this could be the best thing for you. It seems like you need a fresh start. You gotta get away from New Orleans. Off the gumbo, off the jambalaya, off the beignets, all that. Hopefully you end up with Michael Jordan [with the Charlotte Hornets]. You wear his shoes, but you also have to heed his advice. Get his work ethic. If you adopt his mentality, you can still be the man everyone expects you to be on the basketball court. Zion, I believe in you.
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