Zion Williamson News, New Orleans Pelicans News & NBA News
It didn’t take long for former Duke star, Zion Williamson to make a mark on his teammates and the experts in the basketball world.
The videos have been shown around the world of a young prodigy doing a 360 dunk over two defenders on his first start for the New Orleans Pelicans.
The anticipation was high for his second appearance, and he didn’t half deliver. He scored a game-high of 29 points as the Pelicans overcame the Chicago Pulls in a pre-season match.
The 127-125 victory was even more impressive considering that New Orleans trailed by as many as 23 points early in the fourth.
The Pelicans were buoyant and wanted to give the ball to Williamson at any given opportunity. That was something that Alvin Gentry was quick to allude to after the match. He said: “We have to get him moving.
We want him in space. We want to play him in space. The way you can do that is you have to get him on the move. I thought we did a good job, and he did a good job and being able to finish.”
He amended his game for the game against the Bulls, with all of his points coming from within five feet of the basket. Williamson clearly indicated that he at his best when attacking the rim.
“It was not trying to stay still,” Williamson said. “Sometimes, I find myself standing still. If I feel like I’m standing, I circle around and try to find an open spot.”
Count Bulls coach Jim Boylen and guard Zach LaVine among those who were impressed by Williamson’s showing.
“I was amazed at his body control for a guy that big,” Boylen said of the 285-pound Williamson. “I was amazed where it looked like moments where he wasn’t going to get to the rim, but he did.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen him in person. I saw him in the summer league for the five minutes he played, or whatever it was, so it’s amazing for a guy that big to kind of be able to slither through and snake through things and get to the rim, even though people are in front of him. It’s a heck of a skill.”
LaVine smirked when he was asked about Williamson after the game.
“I wanted to see what it was like firsthand,” he said. “I’m a competitive guy, and he’s the truth.”
According to ESPN Stats, Williamson’s 29 points were the most by a rookie in a pre-season game for the past three seasons and the most by a No. 1 pick in pre-season since Derrick Rose had 30 points back in 2008.
Does Williamson compared to LeBron?
Following the game, reporters were quick to question Gentry about possible comparisons to the great LeBron James. However, he fired them down.
“I’m not comparing a 19-year-old to that right now,” Gentry told ESPN. “I’m going to protect him because we’re not drinking that Kool-Aid. We’re not going to say that he’s LeBron James or any of those guys.
Hard to take a 19-year-old kid and say this is what you are going to be until he experiences all those things. We are just making sure we’re not putting extra pressure on him.”
The New Orleans Pelicans remain rank outsiders to make the NBA playoffs this season, but their odds have been drastically shortened after the opening two performances from their new superstar.
Only time will tell whether he is the real deal, however.
The Pelicans are currently +4500 @ 5Dimes to win the 2019/2020 NBA Championship.