Pondering the Promising Future of Zion Williamson and New Orleans Pelicans

At long last, the NBA world finally got what it wanted. On Jan. 22, 2020, at 9:30 p.m. EST, the Zion Williamson show aired for the first time.

And, three quarters later, a good word to describe what exactly his debut was turning out to be would be … disappointing. Through 11 minutes of action, mostly in three-to four-minute bursts to protect his health, he only had five points, and his slow start was mostly contributed to his lack of recent game time; Williamson had not played since an Oct. 13 preseason game against the Spurs, and that lack of in-game experience was really showing itself here.

However, in one three-minute stretch of the game, Williamson showed what he was capable of, further proving why he was the No. 1 pick in the draft. Although he scored only a handful of points through the first three quarters, he proceeded to score 17 points in three minutes.

That is nearly unheard of.

Williamson finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, and three assists, shooting eight-for-11 from the field, and four-for-four from the three-point line. Of course, he did have five turnovers, but again, it was his first in-game action in over three months, so it can be somewhat excused.

Obviously, one game is not a good sample size. Fortunately, Williamson has more games to prove not only that his 17 points in three minutes was not a flash in the pan, but also that he can consistently score through all four quarters of the game.

We got a little more proof that Williamson can consistently perform just two days later against the Nuggets. New Orleans may have also lost this game, but Williamson turned in another good performance. He had 15 points, six rebounds, and shot seven-for-nine from the field. He had 21 minutes compared to only 18 last game, and he had only one turnover compared to the last game’s five. He was zero-for-one from the three-point line, but, to be honest, this is probably a more realistic stat for him. During his lone season at Duke, he shot only 33.8 percent from three, and that number is not likely to increase now that the NBA three-point line is deeper than in college.

However, expect his stats to go up slowly but surely as Alvin Gentry increases his minutes and gets him back up to NBA speed.

The return and emergence of Zion Williamson is great news for the New Orleans Pelicans. They may be a rebuilding team that is currently 12th in the West, but they have a solid young core of Williamson, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram; none of them are older than 25. Unlike other current contenders in the West that have older superstars, this is a relatively younger team, and if the Pelicans can not only retain all three players but continue to develop them, the future looks bright for the team.

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