Zion Williamson delivered on expectations in his rookie season in the NBA for the New Orleans Pelicans. The 20-year-old came as advertised as he displayed his prowess on the court with a level of excellence only seen by past greats of the game.
Williamson showed a great deal in 24 games, averaging 22.5 points per game. He became the first teenager to score 20 points in 10-straight games, breaking Carmelo Anthony’s record of nine. The Pelicans man put on a performance to remember in one of his duels against LeBron last season.
He showed that he more than belonged in the company of the four-time NBA champion and former New Orleans star Anthony Davies. He matched them point-for-point, scoring a career-high 35 in a narrow defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.
That result will have given hope to the franchise that they could challenge for the NBA title, although it may seem a long way off at the moment. New Orleans are backed in the odds NBA betting on bet365 at +5000 to claim the crown next term. Williamson could take the next step but, following the firing of Alvin Gentry, it will take time for the Pelicans to move into contention.
Williamson has a more important role in the future. He must become the face of sport in New Orleans. Everyone knew who was going to be first off the board and the franchise wasted no time in selecting the former Duke Blue Devil. He delivered on the court, but whether he can turn the attention of the locals towards basketball rather than football remains to be seen – although, there will be an opportunity.
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has been more than an outstanding player for the team. Brees and his family are beloved among the citizens of the Big Easy. The quarterback helped rebuild the franchise and the area in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, winning a Super Bowl in 2009 along with his work in the community rebuilding homes with Habitat for Humanity.
His impact on the city will never be forgotten, but his time on the field is beginning to run out. At the age of 41, Brees’ days in the NFL are numbered. The quarterback’s physical skills are already waning, while his mental acuity has been suspect in the Saints’ recent playoff defeats.
Williamson has the talent to fill the void with his ability, but whether he can take to the region in the same way as Brees over 15 years remains to be seen. It’s an awful lot to put on the shoulder of such a young player, but the early signs are very encouraging. If he retains that spirit and quality for the next 15 years, Williamson will go down as a New Orleans legend in the mold of Brees.