NBA: The long-awaited debut of Zion Williamson: 22 points in 18 minutes | NBA 2019

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The number 1 of the draft played its first minutes after his knee injury and left brushstrokes of what it can be. Four consecutive triples in the last quarter almost propitiated the comeback of the Pelicans against the Spurs

Zion Williamson, against the Spurs, in his NBA debut.
Chris Graythen AFP

The phenomenon Zion Williamson finally has its starting point, on January 22, 2020 as it gives 1 of one of the most desired players in years. Because quiz from LeBron James in 2003 A debut like this was not expected. And not only because of the size of its protagonist, but also because of what was made to wait. Before the Spurs, as a starter in the expectant and full Smoothie King Center of New Orleans, the No. 1 draft played his first minutes in the NBA.

Its unusual figure of almost 130 kilos in just two meters high caused the expected impact. Pure speed and power in a pvot wing of a physicist as explosive as in doubt. He contributed 22 points (8 of 11 in shots) and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes of play in the defeat of the Pelicans against the Spurs (117-121) and the veteran LaMarcus Aldridge (32 points and 14 rebounds) was his first dance partner as a perfect counterpoint of sobriety.

Zion had his stellar moment. In the last quarter, with almost everything lost for his Pelicans, I got 17 points in less than seven minutes who stood up to their fans. Four triples without fail that came around the game. Before, misplaced, he had evidenced the obvious lack of rhythm (five losses), but in that straight line, he revealed everything that can be. Only the restriction of minutes made Alvin Gentry return him to the bench.

The first chapter of Zion was written after months of expectation. Because the left-handed boy born in Salisbury (North Carolina), a physicist never seen before, fed the ghosts on the fragility of his knees with the injury in the meniscus on the right – there was a protection in his debut – the day before the start of the regular season, all for October. After the operation, his return was longer than expected, increasing the rumors. “My mother always looks at me and says: 'No one said that this would be easy,'” the young man explained the months of adversity. Along the way, the franchise took the opportunity to work on the belt chain of its stocky body, to the point of correcting its way of walking, running and falling after the jumps. “I think that these last three months will help me with future injuries. It is something that I have to continue, to have less chance of getting injured,” the young man reflected.

He said that a young player did not raise such hopes. Williamson, whose mother, Sharonda, was a sprinter and, subsequently, a physical education teacher, and his American football player, had a spectacular season at the NCAA at the orders of Mike Krzyzewski in Duke. He soon became a viral phenomenon and was compared to LeBron James, for his physical domain, but also for his understanding of the game and versatility. Last summer I already signed a billionaire contract with Jordan Brand – the same brand that a few weeks ago was made with Luka Doncic – and the four preseason games played with the Pelicans (23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 71.7% right …) corroborated the sparkle of the jewel.

Zion's debut also has collective repercussions, as the Pelicans still have options to qualify for the playoffs. Sunk in the lowest positions of the West, the season of the Alvin Gentry I was not being so disappointing thanks to the impact of another young man, Brandon Ingram (number two of the 2016 draft), arrived from the Lakers in the transfer of Anthony Davis. His explosion (25.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists), along with the high of Williamson and the strength of other young people such as Lonzo Ball, relaunches the possibilities of the New Orleans franchise. “We want his energy, his rebound, his explosiveness. Obviously, it is an offensive threat. I don't see anyone who can compete with him near the hoop,” warned Captain Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans franchise player. “We don't put too much pressure on him. He's still 19 years old, he's still a rookie, he has a lot to learn. We're happy to have him back,” Ball said, in the line of his technician: “We don't expect him to ride a white horse and save our franchise. “

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