New Orleans, LA- Zion Williamson was slow in his comeback, being cautious with every step, every leap seemed to look awkward for the young sensation. He relied on his teammates in the first half in which the Pelicans looked slow. He passed out of traps, did not attack the glass, and most importantly, rarely shot in the first half. Zion did not use his 6-6, 284 lb. frame to torture his opponents as he did in high school, college, and the summer league of the NBA. Instead of coming out of the gates stealing the show, he seemed to want to blend in with his teammates and work as one. A real veteran move by the 19-year-old star.
It was at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans that was hyped up and excited for the long-awaited return of one of the biggest prodigies since LeBron came out of high school. Almost three months off a knee surgery that was very unexpected, Zion took the court against the San Antonio Spurs. Zion had just resumed practicing after the Pelicans staff took the most time needed in order to protect Zion for the rest of his NBA career. Too early of a start could have ruined it forever, and this is why the Pelicans took the time that they needed to. These past three months have had a headline of Zion hanging all over the NBA. Everyone wanted to see the rare talent for what he was in the league.
Something seemed to click in Zion's head at halftime. Whether that was someone telling him he needed to step it up, or if it was just him getting comfortable again, Zion sure did step it up. With the Pelicans trailing most of the game, and with Zion on limited minutes due to his first game back, Zion realized when he got back in he needed to make the most of it. He did something that all rookies dream of doing. Scoring 17 straight points in the fourth quarter which dragged his team to take the lead with time still left on the clock. Even though Zion was hot, he was on restricted minutes in which the Pelicans head coach, Alvin Gentry, decided it was time to take him out and let him sit the rest of the game. The Spurs rallied a comeback and eventually won, but the headline of the night was Zion’s three-point shooting and his welcome to the league.
Zion, the best prospect in over a decade, finished the night with an outstanding 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists in only 18 minutes of playing time. These expectations have been around since Zion was in high school. This was only three years ago considering he only spent one year at Duke, but Zion has been a man-child since he started blowing up his Junior year of high school. These remarkable expectations by Zion have been met year in and year out. In just four preseason games, he averaged 23 points and 7 rebounds while shooting an astounding 71.4% from the field.
New Orleans has been lead by Drew Brees for years and has been the spotlight of one of the best cities in the world. There is a new face in Zion in which he is captivating the hearts of the fans here in New Orleans. Even with all the athletic ability that Zion has, he is still one of the best guys to be around. “He’s very humble and just an amazing person to be around,” Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry said.
Zion Williamson might have put one of the greatest rookie debuts on display when he scored 22 points. The combined performance with the amount of time fans had to wait, puts his performance at the top of the list. The much-awaited performance had fans from all over the world waiting to hear Zion’s name be called from the loudspeaker to start the game. Being one of the most noteworthy athletes in all of the professional sports has Zion a little worried a lot of people things. One thing he always does though is to meet his expectations.