Updated: Nov 2, 2022
Last season, Zion Williamson, missed the entire season with a foot injury. That was a huge reason why the Pelicans started the season off on the struggle bus as they went 1-5 in the first six games, those first five losses were by an average of 11.6 points. New Orleans would go on to struggle for quite a while before being able to turn it around and eventually get into the playoffs after the addition of CJ McCollum.
The 2022-23 season has started off in a very different fashion as the Pelicans went from a struggle bus to a stretch limousine. They are 4-2 in the first six games and 3-1 in games in which Williamson has played. The former Duke standout, missed three games after taking a nasty fall against the Utah Jazz on October 23rd. Z, as his teammates call him, came back against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 30th.
Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones were out for New Orleans and Zion picked up the slack in different ways to make up for their absence.
In this game against the Clippers, Williamson had a great all-around game where his impact was massive. This game also showed us what his impact can be going forward.
On this play you see the attention that Williamson demands as three Clipper players come over to stop him from driving to his left. Zion recognizes the coverage and sees an open Devonte Graham, who knocks down the three point jumper.
On this play Zion drives in and again the attention he demands, creates an easy basket for Jaxson Hayes, as he sneaks behind the defense.
Williamson had seven assists compared to only one turnover against Los Angeles.
Zion is a nightmare match-up for other power forwards and centers because of his combination of speed, power, and a soft touch around the basket.
When a smaller player tries to prevent Zion from getting the ball by fronting him in the post. He is able to use his agility and jumping ability to score.
The Pelicans defeated the Clippers, 112-91, behind Williamson's 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 assists. New Orleans will be in Los Angeles again on Wednesday, November 2nd, as they play against the Lakers. Hopefully Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones are back and we get to see Zion's impact with this team at full strength.