In his short time in the NBA, New Orleans Pelicans rookie big man Zion Williamson has immediately lived up to the expectations that were laid ahead of him. Williamson has quickly become one of the most tantalizing players to watch on a nightly basis behind his play. It has enamored many of his peers to exude praise toward him and what he brings to the table. That has also made a strong impression on previous players, which former Orlando Magic star point guard Penny Hardaway has recently voiced some huge acclaim concerning Williamson’s future in the league.
Zion Williamson’ strong start to NBA career
Despite missing the first few months of his rookie campaign, Williamson has proven to be more than worth the wait.
The 19-year-old has produced at a high level from the get-go as he’s averaging 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 58.9% from the floor and 46.2% from beyond the arc in 19 games played. Along the way, Willaimson has put himself in some exclusive company in league history as he’s joined Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill as the only players with seven 20-point outings in their first 10 games career games over the last 30 seasons.
He also put himself alongside O’Neal and Allen Iverson as the third rookie over that span to notch at least 200 points over that stretch of career games played. Williamson’s performance has been everything that the Pelicans had envisioned while he’s solidified himself as a crucial piece to their long-term plans.
Penny Hardaway sees bright future ahead of Zion Williamson
In the last couple of months, Williamson has quickly earned praise from his peers and many past greats to play the game.
Among those is Hardaway, as he recently voiced in an interview with Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype that he sees an incredibly bright future ahead of Williamson for years to come.
“His ceiling is very high. I just think he’s going to be a superstar in the league for a very long time, and I’m happy to be able to witness everything that he’s doing right now. “
The fact that Williamson has past star players giving him that type of praise goes to show the talent that he has on the court. It’s not just his production and flashy plays, but he’s displaying his high basketball IQ that has led to his efficient scoring.
Williamson has played a great deal of unselfishness while his scoring has come with him not being the central focus of their offensive game plan. It may be early in his career, but it’s clear that he’s adapting well to play at the next level.
What pitfalls Zion Williamson must avoid
In his brief time in the NBA, it has become quite evident that Williamson could quickly become one of the top players in the league.
However, it’s a path that could have some twists and turns along the way. One of the biggest concerns will be his health, given his size being 285 pounds that could impact the physical nature of his game. Williamson relies heavily on his athleticism to carry him through in many instances on both sides of the floor, which will draw the necessity for him to stay firmly committed to his health with his nutrition and workouts.
Many of the game’s best players, such as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, have been able to avoid injuries. It’s the one area that prevents players from reaching their true potential, which Hardaway fall from grace was due to his persistent leg injuries.
Williamson has already dealt with one serious knee surgery, which should put knee his health as the top priority moving forward in his career. He has the talent to develop into an elite player for years to come, but this is one aspect that he must continue to emphasize.