The wait has been long, but apparently it was worth it for Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, who in his fourth year in the NBA shows that he can be in charge of leading the franchise to a high-flying season.
The wait has been long, but apparently it was worth it for New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, who in his fourth year in the NBA seems determined to prove that he belongs to the NBA’s elite and that he can be the manager. to lead the franchise to a high-flying season.
And this ‘version 2.0’ of Zion couldn’t have arrived at a better time…
With the Pelicans in Las Vegas to play on Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers for a pass to the NBA Cup Final as representatives of the Western Conference, the contribution of the 2019-20 Pick #1 will be key to the team’s aspirations , just as it has been in the regular season.
Although New Orleans is, until now, seeded in the eighth place of the ‘Wild West’ with a record of 12-10 (.545), half a game away from the direct playoff spots, on an individual level, Williamson is signing the which may end up being one of his best seasons, and most importantly, he looks healthy, something that did not happen frequently in his previous three professional campaigns.
Let us remember that of his first three seasons in the league, Zion did not complete a single one due to various injuries. In his rookie year, he only played in 24 games; 61 in his second campaign and 29 in the last one, for a total of 114 games, registering his best figures in 2022-23 with 60.8% effectiveness from the field, 36.8% from the arc and 66.4% at the free throw line for 26.0 points on average with 33.0 minutes of activity on the court; that in the only 29 games that he was able to play.
The ‘updated’ version of the forward is already posting similar averages in just 18 games played, all of them coming out with coach Willie Green’s first unit, becoming a pillar of the Pelicans’ offense and defense, along with Brandon Ingram.
This season, the former Duke contributes 22.7 points, a product of his 56.9% shooting from the field; That is, of 15.4 field attempts, Williamson is hitting 8.8, to lead New Orleans in that area. He also makes 33.3% of triples, 66.4% of free throws and contributes with 5.8 boards and 4.9 assists.
Since the 2023-24 season began in October, Zion went from less to more and had his best month in November, during which the Pelicans played 12 games, between the NBA Cup and the regular tournament, of which they won 7 with a streak of five wins in a row against the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings (x2) and LA Clippers.
During that November, Zion had All-Star numbers with 56.4% from the field, 66.7% from three-point range and also 66.7% from free throws to contribute an average of 24.5 points per night.
That push can lead the Pelicans to make a splash in the NBA Cup in which they will face the favorite Lakers, but beyond the result of that game, the important thing is that Zion is on his way to having his best season and return to that conversation in which many pointed to him as the ‘heir’ to the throne that LeBron James is about to leave.
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