Zion Williamson Is Putting Up Historic NBA Preseason Numbers

In four preseason games, Williamson is shooting 71 percent from the field

Zion Williamson Is Putting Up Historic Numbers in Preseason
Zion Williamson of the Pelicans reacts during a preseason game. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty)
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By Evan Bleier / October 16, 2019 11:54 am

There’s no way to know who’s going to win MVP of the NBA’s regular season, but No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is making a strong case to be named MVP of league’s preseason games.

In four preseason games for the New Orleans Pelicans, the 19-year-old is averaging more than 23 points, six rebounds, and two assists per game in 27 minutes a night while shooting an insane 71 percent from the field.

That scoring average puts Williamson in some pretty elite company as the only other players in the league averaging more points per game this preseason are MVP winners Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden and Stephen Curry.

As FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring points out, the NBA hasn’t had a rookie finish their first preseason averaging more than 20 points per game in the past 20 years.

Williamson has been extremely efficient in his scoring and actually connected on 12 of his 13 shots while going for 29 points in a win over the Bulls with nine of those 12 baskets coming from one foot or closer to the hoop.

The former Duke star likely won’t score quite as much or as efficiently during the regular season as he has during the preseason, but there’s a lot of evidence that his performance won’t dip that much.

“According to ESPN Stats & Information Group, the 27 rookies who’ve averaged 15 points per game or more in their first preseason since 1999 have seen scoring and true shooting percentage declines of just 1.1 points and 2.4 percentage points, respectively, from the preseason to the regular season,” FiveThirtyEight reports.

The Pelicans have gone 4-0 with Williamson as their leading scorer and will look to finish the preseason undefeated with a win over the Knicks on October 18.

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