The hype for Zion Williamson’s NBA debut is building for weeks. This has been one of the most anticipated debuts in the recent history of the NBA.ESPN had to change its national TV schedule to broadcast the Zion NBA debut game, it doesn’t get any bigger than that. Williamson has been on the side-lines the past three months due to a torn meniscus in his right knee.
Zion Williamson made his debut as a starting Power Forward for the Pelicans against the Spurs. ESPN even had a pregame camera just to follow him on the court.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 23, 2020
Zion Williamson in the first half
Pelicans started the game looking to get Zion going as they set up a lob play for him in the first possession but he wasn’t open. He received the ball on the block next two possessions but passed it each time.
In the first quarter, he missed his first shot from the field but made a slick pass Brandon Ingram to announce his return playing less than 4 minutes.
Zion Williamson finds Ingram for the slam pic.twitter.com/alT5OkdcCR
— The Render (@TheRenderNBA2) January 23, 2020
He made his first bucket in the second quarter off the offensive rebound and a putback. He again didn’t play more than 5 minutes in this quarter.
Zion's first NBA bucket! pic.twitter.com/fmWAFsCgU7
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 23, 2020
Williamson showcased his dynamism on the court in the second quarter but overall it looked like he was running to prevent an injury from happening.
In the third quarter, Williamson has looked more active as he draws a foul and scores a basket. His impact on the game hasn’t been enough as he also made a couple of turnovers. He again played less than 5 minutes in the quarter.
Everything changed here, as Zion took the court in the fourth he just erupted. Zion scored 17 straight points to put Pelicans back in the game. He got his engines going as he played his longest stretch of the game yet. He went 2-2 from the field, 4-4 from the three-point line and 1-2 from the free-throw line. The crowd went crazy as Zion exploded in the fourth as he received MVP chants in his debut game.
Overall, this game was every bit as exciting as it was hyped up to be. The first half gad tensions rising as Zion didn’t look like himself at all while the second half had the adrenaline rushing as he exploded in the fourth. He had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in 18 minutes. He checked out of the game shortly after and was finished for the night. The Spurs won the game 121-117.
The only thing missing in this debut was a Zion special dunk.