Nine games into his professional career, and Zion Williamson is the creator of his own show and we’re all viewers.
In his first nine games playing professional basketball in the regular season, Williamson is averaging 21.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 57.6% from the field and 40% from three. The special part of Williamson’s game is his sheer force that allows him to easily get to the rim. Once at the rim, defenders are faced with the decision to let Williamson finish easy or foul him and force him to beat you at the free throw line.
In NBA history, only nine players have scored 30 points and made 10 free throws in a game within their first 10 career games. Williamson accomplished that feat last night with 31 points and 11 free throws. The last player to do so was Tyreke Evans in 2007.
The Zion show started on Jan. 22, when he scored 17 straight points against the San Antonio Spurs. Since then, Williamson has scored under 20 points only twice. He is the third player with seven 20-point performances in his first 10 career games over the last 30 seasons. Only Granit Hill and Shaquille O’Neal have accomplished the same thing.
Taking a deeper look at the stats, Williamson is the 20th player in NBA history to score at least 14 points in his first nine career games. 15 of the other 19 players are in the NBA Hall of Fame.
The New Orleans Pelicans are now four and a half games out of eighth place, currently occupied by the Memphis Grizzlies. With the Pelicans young core gelling together now, a playoff run is possible for the tortured franchise. After years of being irrelevant, even just appearing in the playoffs is a moral victory for the organization.
Zion, along with Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball, is the future of basketball in New Orleans.