Zion Williamson has arrived!
It may just be pre-season, but the no.1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft showed exactly why New Orleans Pelicans fans have every reason to be excited as they cruised to a 133-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Williamson was in the thick of the action from the jump, with an impressive first-half display, recording 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including three dunks and five rebounds to help the Pelicans take a 75-61 half-time lead.
He finished the night with 16 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals in 28 minutes of action.
It took less than two minutes into the game to get the crowd off their feet, rocking the rim with a ferocious one-handed jam.
✈️ ZION TAKES FLIGHT! #NBAPreseason pic.twitter.com/D7PQhLelfM- NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) October 8, 2019
Just a couple minutes later, Lonzo Ball found Williamson on the fast-break and the Duke-product did what he does best, flushing it home with two hands.
You just really love to see it.#Zion 👊 #WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/9vV0Rijxet- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 8, 2019
Williamson and Ball were just one of many fresh faces in action for New Orleans, following their busy off-season, with head coach Alvin Gentry deploying 10 new players in Atlanta.
Zion slams it home again 🔥- ESPN (@espn) October 8, 2019
Get used to this, @NBA pic.twitter.com/9fD0bX8Qqi
Ball, who started in the backcourt alongside Jrue Holiday, was at his playmaking best for New Orleans, pushing the break and getting out in transition at every opportunity. He led the Pelicans with seven assists (all in the first half), to go with nine points and five rebounds in 25 minutes on court.
After re-shaping his jump shot in the off-season, Ball appeared much more confident letting it fly from deep, with all of his points coming from beyond the arc (3-of-8), including this nasty stepback.
Lonzo. Stepback. Money. 👀 pic.twitter.com/ZD56yAOIql- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 8, 2019
Brandon Ingram, who came over with Ball and Josh Hart in the Anthony Davis trade, added 19 points and six rebounds, while Hart knocked down 2-of-4 three-point attempts for his six points. Holiday led all scorers with 21 points in 18 minutes on court.
After taking a 34-29 lead after the first quarter, the Pelicans blew the game open with a 46-point second quarter and never looked back, leading by as many as 29 points.
DeAndre Bembry led the Hawks with 16 points, while John Collins added 13 points and five rebounds.
While all eyes were on Williamson, Hawks point guard Trae Young put on a show in front of his home fans, with plenty of flashy plays, none better than this nutmeg dribble on JJ Redick.
bruhhhhhh 🤯🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/r4R8jMo0PU- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) October 8, 2019
Young finished with nine points and a game-high 11 assists.