Pelicans’ Zion Williamson reveals what will motivate him to join 2021 NBA Dunk Contest
New Orleans Pelicans rookie power forward Zion Williamson is already one of the NBA’s most distinguished leapers. But the 2019 draft’s first overall selection is not competing in the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest this weekend during the league’s All-Star weekend festivities in Chicago.
However, the 19-year-old former Duke standout explained what would it take for him to compete in next year’s dunk contest. Williamson told the Washington Post’s Ben Golliver, “If my team’s in a good spot, I’ll be in it.”
“If we’re the best team in the league, I’ll do it for sure. But if not, I’ll think about it.”
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 14, 2020
Williamson, who underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in November, missed the first few months of his rookie campaign. However, the South Carolina native made his professional regular season debut on Jan. 22 against the San Antonio Spurs. He recorded 22 points on 11 shots, draining 4-for-4 from long range, and chipping in seven rebounds and three assists.
Since then, in just 10 games on the hardwood for the Pelicans, Williamson has averaged 22.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 27.4 minutes per game. He has shot 57.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from 3-point range.
Williamson’s burst on the court after missing months due to surgery has called into question Memphis Grizzlies first-year point guard Ja Morant’s hegemony on the Rookie of the Year ballot this season. Morant is averaging 17.6 points and 7.1 assists a contest for the Grizzlies and quite literally leading them to the final playoff seed in the competitive Western Conference.
Zion Williamson is only 10 games and a Rising Stars Challenge invite into his NBA career. But he could soon see himself in the Slam Dunk Contest provided the Pelicans are in a comfortable spot next season.