Zion Williamson ready for NBA debut

Zion Williamson ready for NBA debut
First-round draft pick Zion Williamson prepares for training camp with the New Orleans Pelicans. (Source: Chris Hagan)


Even before the injury that delayed Zion Williamson’s debut, there was concern about how his body would hold up with the daily grind of the NBA. But a right knee injury forced him to address the issue sooner than expected. Now, after months of rehab, including fixing his mechanics while walking, running and jumping, Zion is ready to go on Wednesday night.

“I think it’s just not landing with straight legs or letting all of my force go into my legs,” says Williamson. “It’s a lot of technical stuff. I really couldn’t explain it to you to be honest. I could probably show you on video better.”

Zion says his mom called the setback a blessing disguise. Ideally, he'll now start his career knowing the right ways to stay healthy.

Zion Williamson ready to make Pelicans debut

“I think it does help with future injuries,” says the first overall pick. “It’s something that I have to continue to have less chance of getting hurt. I’ve talked to the training staff about it. It’s just consistency and sticking with the program.”

But for Zion, it wasn’t just physical preparation to return to the floor. Having to sit out and be on the sideline, the first round pick says he also gained a lot of knowledge that will help him fit in right away when he debuts against the Spurs.

“I think it was just the attention to detail or defense,” says Williamson. “You can always look at a scouting report, but I think it’s just a matter of the feel of the game and who you’re guarding.”

And that brings us back to why Zion was such a coveted first overall pick in the first place. His feel of the game and basketball I.Q. are outstanding for his age. We saw how quickly the game came to him in the preseason. Yes, there will be another adjustment period. But Zion’s body, that’s already proven to be NBA ready, gives him a strong leg up on the competition.

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