Zion Williamson, the New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward and first overall pick, will make his NBA debut on January 22 against the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s been nearly eight months since the end of Williamson’s reign at Duke University. Since then, the NBA world has been teased by limited Summer League action from the first overall pick. On Oct. 21, Williamson underwent surgery on his right knee to repair meniscus damage.
The last time Williamson was in action was on Oct. 13, when Williamson scored 22 points and 10 rebounds in a win against the Spurs. Williamson averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 71.4% in his four preseason games this season.
The Pelicans are currently the 13th seed in the Western Conference, as their playoff hopes are slowly slipping away. At 15-26, even if Williamson becomes a rookie-phenom, which many expect, the team is too far back in the playoff standings to be a liable postseason team.
But the future is bright.
Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball are finally coming into their own. Ingram is averaging 25.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, while Ball is averaging 12.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game. If Williamson can be that consistent scoring and defensive force that he’s shown to be, then the Pelicans future is bright.
With the Western Conference loaded with temporary players on contending teams, the movement around the league could help the Pelicans, especially if the organization can move guard Jrue Holiday for future assets. The Pelicans 2019-2020 season is a year for building a winning culture and showing the league what to expect in the years moving forward. Protecting the health of their current players should be the main priority of the team.