Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson sets multiple records in NBA debut
Zion Williamson’s NBA debut with the New Orleans Pelicans was the talk of the NBA world before it even happened. And after the show that the 2019 No. 1 pick put on against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, it is safe to expect that he will continue to dominate headlines across the basketball scene.
In only 18 minutes, the former Duke phenom posted 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists for the Pelicans. Williamson also shot 8-11 from the field and showed off his range by shooting 4-of-4 from deep.
Williamson’s debut explosion was capitalized by a fourth-quarter run in which he scored 17 straight points to erase a Spurs lead
While the Spurs would end up spoiling Williamson’s debut, the 6-foot-6 forward still made Pelicans history. With his scoring mark, Zion finished with the most points for a rookie in their debut in franchise history.
Zion Williamson finished with 22 points – the most by a rookie in their debut in Pelicans’ history.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 23, 2020
Moreover, per ESPN Stats & Info, his scoring is the most points scored in under 20 minutes in a player’s debut in the shot-clock era.
After a jaw-dropping freshman season at Duke and strong performances in the NBA preseason, Williamson was primed to take the NBA by storm this season. Unfortunately, a meniscus injury kept the rookie out for the first 44 games of the season.
In those games he missed, the Pelicans went for 17-27 -for 12th place in the Western Conference.
Williamson was finally deemed healthy enough to play after his meniscus surgery in October. However, as is evident by the Pelicans’ end-game box score, head coach Alvin Gentry obviously planned on limiting the minutes of the prized rookie.
As the season progresses, Zion Williamson should get closer and closer to full strength and should see his minutes and impact increase.