Zion Williamson was back on the hardwood Monday night for the New Orleans Pelicans, and the second-year player showed all of the promise fans expected to see in his rookie year.
Williamson looked strong in the Pelicans’ first preseason game, scoring 26 points on 8-13 shooting, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 2 assists.
Still, his most impressive stat of the night was the 33 total minutes he played in New Orleans’ 114-92 victory over the Miami Heat.
Team-high 33 minutes
10-11 from the line
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 15, 2020
Zion only played 33 minutes three times as a rookie, but the 20-year-old forward has vowed that he won’t be playing under a minutes restriction this season.
The six-foot-six forward played just a total of 24 games last season due to injuries, and the main question surrounding the Pelicans franchise player is his health.
Stan Van Gundy, in his first year as the team’s coach, has said he is going to put an emphasis on conditioning with his young players.
Last season’s most improved player, Brandon Ingram, scored 22 points, dished out 6 assists, and grabbed 6 rebounds in 31 minutes of play, while Lonzo Ball chipped in 12 points , 6 assists, and 4 rebounds.
Williamson was built up as the second coming before his rookie season was unceremoniously halted by injury in the preseason.
He still managed to average 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists.
Teammates and fans alike are all hoping they will finally get a chance to see Zion on the court at his best this season.