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Pelicans’ CJ McCollum on Zion Williamson: “We call him Thanos”

James Foglio profile picture
Updated 2 months ago on

3 min read

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Pelicans CJ McCollum on Zion Williamson - "We call him Thanos"
USA Today Network
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New Orleans Pelicans guard CJ McCollum described teammate Zion Williamson the best way he could. McCollum believes the All-Star forward compares to the legendary supervillain of Marvel Comics.

“Zion, we call him Thanos,” explained McCollum during an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “He’s special. Explosive, hungry, a competitor, gamer. It’s like him and two other people, 27 [points per game], 60% from the field.”

A few NBA betting sites are giving the Pelicans top-15 odds to win a championship in the 2022-23 season. Oddsmakers believe their chances of returning to the playoffs depend entirely on Williamson staying healthy.

“Him and two people [James averaged 27-7-7 and Luka Doncic logged 29-9-9 at age 20]. Who are those other two people? Hall of Famers. So, you go to see a young kid who plays like a man, who’s learning.”

“He’s growing and he’s maturing. He’s starting to have a better understanding of life in basketball.”

While Williamson is not yet as destructive as Thanos, he is one of the best players in the NBA when healthy. It’s why his nickname is Zanos. Not to mention, he was rooting for the warlord while watching Avengers: Endgame in 2019.

Pelicans’ CJ McCollum and other teammates refer to Zion Williamson as Thanos

Williamson was selected first overall by the Pelicans in the 2019 NBA Draft. During his rookie 2019-20 season, the forward averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game in 24 starts.

Plus, he shot 58.3% from the floor and 42.9% from downtown. The Duke product was then selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

In the following season, Williamson recorded 27 points, 7.2 boards, and 3.7 assists per contest in 61 starts. And he earned his first All-Star selection.

The forward missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a foot injury. Last offseason, he suffered a Jones fracture in his right foot. Williamson’s foot was reevaluated in October and December, but his injury was slow to heal.

In July, the forward signed a five-year, $193 million designated rookie contract extension with the Pelicans. If he weighs less than 295 lbs. and earns an All-NBA honor, his deal can increase to as much as $231 million.

On Oct. 4, in the Pelicans’ 129-125 preseason win over the Chicago Bulls, Williamson returned from his injury. He ended his performance with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 steal.

If Zanos can play a full season, maybe the Pelicans can make some noise in the playoffs in 2023. During the 2022 NBA Playoffs, the team lost in the first round against the Phoenix Suns.

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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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