Zion Williamson’s excellent NBA debut against Spurs gives Pelicans confidence
No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson’s wonderful 17-point surge in a range of scarcely beyond what three minutes could turn out to be a piece of New Orleans’ pro sports lore — regardless of whether the last score won’t. Zion Williamson performs his NBA debut for the Pelicans against the San Antonio Spurs in which he scored 22 points in 18 minutes on 8-for-11 shooting from the field.
For the Pelicans, a narrow misfortune to a well-coached, insightful San Antonio Spurs team carried far less weight than the prospering type of a youthful superstar in the making.
“The way he came out was very poised,” veteran Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said of Williamson. “The way he played … bringing energy, especially down the stretch, was something that I guess you don’t see from somebody so young. But even on top of that, we are almost in February and he hadn’t played a game yet, so for him to be able to come out here and do that his first game is pretty elite.”
Remarkable hype, powered by web-based social networking, has followed the affable, 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson since his secondary school days in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It just expanded during his one excellent season at Duke, making him the agreement No. 1 overall NBA draft pick well before the Pelicans won the draft lottery and the privilege to choose him.
Pro basketball fans needed to wait an additional three months to perceive how Williamson’s uncommon combination of size and skill would decipher in an important NBA game as a result of the wary and thorough methodology the Pelicans took to their prized rookie’s restoration from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Be that as it may, it took just one game for Williamson to accomplish something uncommon.
He made every one of the four 3s he endeavored in the final quarter Wednesday, mixing the Smoothie King Center group into a jubilant frenzy. In the middle of, he laid in a rear entryway oop lob and set back an offensive rebound with a reverse layup.
“It was nice to experience those emotions,” Williamson said. “I was happy to be out there and be able to run out there again, but what was going through my mind was just, ‘Be calm.’”
Williamson’s final statistical line was 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go with 7 bounce back and 3 assists 18:08 on the court.
“The way he plays, that’s something he can do every day,” Holiday said. “Adding Zion is a big part of what we want to do here and our success.”
Fans wanted to see more, however, coach Alvin Gentry said he was unable to notice their chants of “We want Zion!,” during the final five minutes of a 121-117 misfortune.
“The medical people said that was it,” Gentry said, alluding to precautionary restrictions placed on Williamson’s playing time in the early days of his return to action.
“I don’t want any restrictions,” Williamson said. “But I’m not a doctor or a trainer, so I’ve just got to listen to them.”
The Pelicans are back in action twice in four days, hosting Denver on Friday and Boston on Sunday. On the off chance that Williamson’s 19-year-old body reacts well to his initial activity, his playing time is relied upon to extend.
“What you saw there is a taste of once we get settled in and he gets settled in, you can see that there’s a lot of things we can do with him,” Gentry said. “There’s a lot of potentials there. It was good to see him do that, but you know I think there’s a high ceiling that he can reach.”
Everything about Williamson’s debut oozed a major occasion vibe. The game was sold out and many fans were waiting to fill the field when the gates opened about an hour before warn.
“The energy was there from warm-ups,” Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball said. “That is the most people I have seen coming out before the game even started.”
The tip-off was pushed back an hour and a half to accommodate national TV and Pelicans media relations staff said they’d gave around 165 credentials, over five times the typical number for a mid-week game in January.
For somewhat more than seventy-five percent, when Williamson had five points and four turnovers, it seemed as though his first game would baffle the lively, capacity swarm that came to see him. At that point, out of nowhere, Williamson had the place on its feet and in a condition of close to delirium.
Holiday noticed that Williamson had been rocking fields since secondary school, including rhetorically, “As exciting as it was, is it that much of a surprise?”
Maybe not. Be that as it may, it was significant.