- Zion Williamson was worth the wait.
- After a slow start in his NBA debut, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft erupted for 17 points in a three-minute span to captivate the basketball world and showcase his exceptional talent.
- Williamson finished the game with 22 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-11 shooting and a perfect 4-for-4 clip from three.
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At long last, Zion Williamson made his NBA debut.
And despite a slow start, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft managed to live up to the massive hype with an explosive performance for the ages.
The most highly-anticipated NBA prospect since LeBron James erupted for 17-straight points in just over three minutes during the fourth quarter of the New Orleans Pelicans 121-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs Wednesday night. Williamson’s dynamic stretch – which capped his 22-point, seven-rebound showing at the Smoothie King Centre – featured a remarkable 4-of-4 clip from beyond the arc.
Additionally, the 19 year old showed off the extraordinary athleticism that first put him on the map with a high-flying alley-oop and a rebound-turned-layup that showcased his explosive second jump.
Williamson finished the night as the first and only player in the history of the NBA to shoot 100% from three-point range on four or more attempts in an NBA debut. He also set the Pelicans’ franchise record for most points in a debut, besting Anthony Davis’ 21-point showing for the then-New Orleans Hornets back in 2012.
Check out the highlights from Williamson’s exceptional stretch:
ZION WENT OFF ????
17 points and 4/4 from deep in 3 minutes pic.twitter.com/CfYklzb2Bv
— ESPN (@espn) January 23, 2020
Although his final stats for the game may point to a well-rounded debut, Williamson actually came out to a notably slow start over the first three quarters. The 6-foot-7, 285-pounder recorded just two points in the entire first half of Wednesday night’s game and added another three points in the third quarter before bursting onto the scene in the final minutes of the contest.
Still, Williamson showed flashes of brilliance even when his shots weren’t falling early on. In one such instance, the 2019 Wooden Award winner bodied Spurs big man Jakob Poltl for a tough rebound before taking the ball up the floor and delivering a cross-court bounce pass to E’Twaun Moore for an easy two points.
Zion with a MAN'S rebound and then shows off the point-forward skills ???? pic.twitter.com/1W2x6nEcFT
— ESPN (@espn) January 23, 2020
And while he still has some major adjustments to make in acclimating to playing at the professional level, Williamson displayed some discipline in spacing the floor and sticking through the entirety of each play throughout the early goings of the game.
For his part, Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry seemed pleased with Williamson’s performance in his first official game in New Orleans.
“I think what you saw there was a taste of what once we really get settled, he gets settled in, there is a lot of things we can do with him,” Gentry said after the game. “There’s a lot of potential there. It was good to see him do that. I just think there’s a really, really high ceiling that he can reach, you know. He can reach it.”
The Pelicans faithful seemed pleased as well. During Williamson’s unbelievable fourth-quarter takeover, the Smoothie King Centre erupted in “MVP” chants.
Zion already getting MVP chants from Pelicans fans.
This is wild.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 23, 2020
The Pelicans currently sit four games out of the eight seed in the Western Conference standings. They will host the Denver Nuggets Friday night in New Orleans with the hopes of converting their latest asset’s contributions on the floor into his first win as a Pelican.
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