Zion Williamson is playing basketball. I repeat, Zion is playing basketball. If you’re reading this, I assume you know that by now though.
After being hurt for half the season, Zion has been being slowly introduced to the NBA. He has now played in his first 5 NBA games only playing 24 minutes a game which is exactly half the game. Head coach Alvin Gentry says that this is all a part of the plan. He is steadfast on that plan as well. He proved this by benching Zion at home against the San Antonio Spurs in Zion’s debut with a 1-point lead and about 6 minutes left in the game.
Zion had been as advertised throughout the game as well. This had to have been a tough decision for Gentry but he stuck to the plan. The Spurs immediately took the lead and the crowd began to chant “We want Zion!”. Gentry never even looked down the bench, he knew he was not going to put him back in no matter what. In his electrifying debut, he scored 22 points, went 4/4 from 3PT range and scored 17 straight points for the Pelicans at one point.
The Pelicans are playing the long game here. Zion is poised to be a bonified superstar in the NBA, and the Pelicans are going to be beyond cautious while dealing with his recovery.
With the Pelicans being on national TV almost every other night, you will have plenty of chances to see Zion play for yourself. Trust me, it is worth every second. He’s showing an extreme amount of patience with the ball, not forcing bad shots. While displaying a veteran mindset, he has also shown glimpses of his explosiveness with put-back dunks, offensive rebounds, and even a block sent into the stands.
In his most recent game against the Houston Rockets, Zion finished with a double-double. The rookie scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards in 33 minutes, a significant increase from his debut. A three-quarters court alley-oop from Lonzo Ball to Zion was the must-see highlight on Sunday.
With his 6’6”, 285lbs frame, he is going to continue to be a monster in this league. We are witnessing the very beginning of an NBA career that has been anticipated since videos of Zion surfaced on the internet of him dominating in high school. While you are watching games this season keep one thing in mind, Zion is 19 years old, a teenager. He is an elite athlete with Hall of Fame expectations put on him, he has so much time to grow into one of the best players any of us has ever seen. Give him time and enjoy the ride. The highlights are coming.