If there were a single soul left that doubted Zion Williamson was the real deal, his performance against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night should silence any remaining naysayers.
Williamson had a career night as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the struggling Blazers 138-117. In less than 28 minutes he scored a career-high 31 points with nine rebounds and five assists. And he looked good doing it, too.
Zion dropped a career-high 31 PTS against the Blazers 🔥 pic.twitter.com/zKOpKPe7Nz— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 12, 2020
Williamson has played just nine NBA games, but he’s quickly racking up some impressive stats.
Zion Williamson is the 3rd player with seven 20-point games in his first 10 career games over the last 30 seasons. He joins Grant Hill and Shaquille O'Neal (also 7).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 12, 2020
He is the only player in that span to record seven 20-point games in his first 9 career games. pic.twitter.com/VUhyp56ebP
Zion is the 5th player in the past 10 seasons to have a 30-point game in his 1st 10 career games.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 12, 2020
Williamson is also the 4th-fastest No. 1 pick in the lottery era to have his 1st 30-point game (9th game). He's the fastest since Allen Iverson (1st game).
(h/t @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/DrqqbxF7ph
After the game, Williamson expressed genuine surprise at how well he’s been doing. He’s outpaced his own early expectations for himself.
"I expect to make an impact, but I don't expect to do nothing like this," Williamson said, via ESPN. "Just kinda look to come in, kinda fit, not try to mess up. My teammates and coaches are always pushing me, like be outside the box."
Williamson’s teammates may have expected these kinds of performances from him, but they’re still delighted.
"I mean, he's only gonna get better," teammate Lonzo Ball said after the game. "He's 19. Came in midseason. I feel like he's still not in the shape he can be in. It's kinda scary thinking about what he can do in the future, but we'll take 31 every night."
Head coach Alvin Gentry said that Williamson has barely “scratched the surface” of his talent, and Williamson agrees. He knows there’s more to learn, and that every game he plays will make him better.
Williamson says his game is just about finding the right spot on the court and making the right decision when he gets the ball.
"I think it is kind of happening," Williamson said. "People are trying to find their own way. I feel like my game is so unique I'll be able to adjust to it on the fly. At the end of the day, I'm 19. I have a lot of room for growing. I will mess up. I'm not perfect — I'm just gonna learn from them."
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