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Adam Silver thinks Zion Williamson can handle pressure that comes with being a ‘big-time player’

Adam Silver, Zion Williamson, Pelicans

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was unable to witness the debut of the No. 1 pick Zion Williamson, as he suited up for the New Orleans Pelicans for the first time in the regular season. Yet he watched the highlights after landing from an Air France flight to Paris for the first-ever NBA game in French soil, seeing Williamson erupt in the fourth quarter in an unreal performance for a rookie.

“I saw the highlights when I landed and I couldn’t have been more thrilled that he’s healthy, he’s on the floor and that he had a terrific start,” said Silver, admitting the Wi-Fi service in the plane wasn’t strong enough to stream the game. “…I’d also say in the terms of the pressure [that comes with being a No. 1 pick], I think he can handle it. It comes with the territory and he’s been in the spotlight long before he was in the national limelight at Duke University.

That’s part of being a social media star these days, and again, it’s not easy for these [young] players, but I think he’s built to be a big-time player and handle these big moments.”

Williamson managed the pressure just fine, surviving the many gaffes of his first three-quarters of action, only to explode in the fourth quarter and score 17 of his 22 points in a 3-minute, 8-second lapse. The burst included four consecutive made three-pointers without a miss. Williamson became the first player in NBA history to shoot 4-of-4 from beyond the arc without a miss in their debut.

The Pelicans rookie, despite being limited by a minutes restriction, left no doubt why he’s the No. 1 pick after a dazzling display of skill against a strong team like the San Antonio Spurs.