After recovering from knee surgery that has sidelined him for the regular season so far, New Orleans Pelicans’ rookie Zion Williamson made his highly anticipated NBA debut this past Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs and it was something to behold.
Zion had five points through the first three quarters until he exploded in the fourth quarter with 17 points, including shooting 4/4 from beyond the 3-point arch. For those keeping track, that is more 3-pointers than Ben Simmons has hit his whole career.
His fourth quarter explosion that almost lifted the Pelicans to victory sent the home crowd into a frenzy. Less than 10 minutes into his young career “MVP” chants rained down on the 19-year-old.
He would exit the game early since he is on a tight minutes restriction to monitor his injury and the ongoing rehab. As the Pelicans’ grasp on the game slipped, the crowd begged and pleaded with New Orleans Head Coach Alvin Gentry to put him back in the game.
He ended the game with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists on 8/11 shooting from the field.
Even though the Pelicans did ultimately lose 121-117 to the Spurs, it was good to see this kind of debut from Zion. The rookie showed poise and his ability to perform under intense scrutiny.
Now, even though it was noticeable that he wasn’t 100% and a little bit out of shape (at 285 lbs he is the third heaviest player in the NBA behind two seven footers), he competed and seemed calm under pressure which is everything you want to see from your future star if you are the Pelicans organization.
During this injury, there has been chatter around the league on if it would be a wrench to start his career. Based on this performance, that theory should not be in question any longer.
At the end, even though Zion will have some growing pains in his recovery, it’s finally time for Zion to take this league by storm. The wait is over and the time is now.
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