Pelicans Set NBA Debut Date for No. 1 Draft Pick Zion Williamson
He will take the court for the first time in the regular season against the Spurs
After returning to practice just after New Year’s for the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery shortly before the season, Zion Williamson is set to make his regular-season NBA debut later this month.
According to Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, Williamson has to participate in two more practices before playing in a game for New Orleans.
Given the team’s schedule, that means Williamson would make his debut at home against the San Antonio Spurs on January 22, assuming he has no setbacks during practice.
Due to his injury and high draft status, there were some who speculated that Williamson, 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, would be shut down for the entire season and first take the floor next season.
But, according to Griffin, the team never considered the possibility of sidelining the rookie forward for the duration of the season.
When Williamson does take the floor, he’ll likely have a ton of restrictions on him and be limited to a set number of minutes.
Still, New Orleans (15-26) could use him in the lineup as they need a shot in the arm if they’re going to get out of fifth place in the Southwest Division and make a run at the playoffs.
Drafted No. 1 out of Duke by the New Orleans Pelicans, Williamson averaged 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in four preseason games before his injury.
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