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Is Zion Williamson worth the hype?

The 2019-2020 NBA season has been an explosive one. Throughout the season, a lot of young talented players have shown consistency and promise. Most of these players have been integral players for their respective teams. Despite the lack of experience, some of these players have managed to cope with the pressure and lived up to expectations. One of these players happens to be none other than the favorite for this season’s Rookie of the Year accolade Zion Williamson. Despite missing the opening 44 games with a severe knee injury in his rookie season with the New Orleans Pelicans, the 19-year old Zion Williamson has been one of their top stars.

His absence in the early stages of the season saw the New Orleans Pelicans fall behind in the race for the playoffs as the team struggled to maintain consistent winning runs. However, his return to action towards the end of January saw his team get back to their best form before the suspension of the season due to the coronavirus. At the moment, the Pelicans are back in the race for the playoffs as they occupy the 10th place in the Western Conference and 4th in the Southwest Division with a 28-36 win-loss record (.438). The performances of Williamson have also earned him plaudits and comparisons to Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James.

As such, we analyze how good he is as a player by highlighting his statistics this season and what to expect from him for the remainder of the season.

 

Zion Williamson’s statistics so far this season

As the top pick in last summer’s draft, Zion Williamson arrived in the NBA as a once-in-a-generation talent. Even though his NBA career did not start on a positive note because of the injury he sustained in preseason, he has shone under the spotlight since making his debut for the New Orleans Pelicans in their disappointing 121-117 loss to San Antonio Spurs.

In 19 games for New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson has averaged 23.6 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game and 2.2 assists per game. He has also averaged 0.5 blocks per game, 0.8 steals per game, and 2.7 turnovers as well. In total, Williamson has recorded 448 points, 129 rebounds, 41 assists, nine blocks, 16 steals, and 51 turnovers. For a rookie forward looking to make a big name in the NBA, these numbers represent a massive return considering his lengthy injury layoff.

His numbers for average points per game (23.6) within this short period shows how ruthless and lethal he is upfront. He also has the second-highest average points per game numbers in the New Orleans Pelicans team behind Small Forward Brandon Ingram, who has averaged 24.3 points per game in 56 games this season.

Zion Williamson’s numbers for average rebounds per game (6.8) is also the second-highest in his team behind Center Derrick Favors. Williamson was also in excellent form before the suspension of the season. In New Orleans Pelicans’ last ten games before the suspension of the league, Williamson averaged 25.9 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 2.0 assists per game.

Another significant asset of his game is his speed. Despite weighing 285 pounds (129 kg), Zion Williamson possesses the ability to get past his opponents with ease. His strength on the ball makes him very difficult to dispossess. His impressive performances were evident in the Pelicans’ home game against Los Angeles Lakers in March as he outshined LeBron James, recording a career-high 35 points in a 122-114 defeat.

Despite his attacking prowess, Williamson has some deficiencies in the passing aspect of his game. His numbers for average assists per game show how he sometimes struggles to consistently support his teammates upfront when he is not scoring points regularly. He also has a lot to improve in the defensive department of his game. His average numbers for blocks per game (0.5) is one of the lowest returns by any player on the New Orleans Pelicans roster. His average number of steals per game (0.8) is decent. However, he will have to show signs of improvement in those areas during the remainder of the season to become a complete all-round NBA player.

 

What’s next for Zion Williamson?

With the season set to restart very soon, New Orleans Pelicans would be looking to rely on Williamson to help them qualify for the playoffs at the end of the season. At the moment, Williamson is on the right path to becoming a top player in the NBA. However, he will have to do away with complacency, inconsistency, and manage to stay fit. For a young player like him, there’s still a lot to come from him even though he looks like the real deal at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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