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Pelicans coach Willie Green: “Zion Williamson looked amazing”

James Foglio profile picture
Sports Editor
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Pelicans coach Willie Green: "Zion Williamson looked amazing"
USA Today Network

On Wednesday, New Orleans Pelicans head coach Willie Green heaped praise on Zion Williamson, 22, after a team practice. Williamson is entering his fourth year in the NBA. He missed the entire 2021-22 season due to a foot injury.

After an intense scrimmage, Green spoke with reporters. “Z [Zion Williamson] looked amazing. His strength, his speed. He dominated the scrimmage pretty much.”

“And then he did a good job of looking for his teammates,” continued Green. “What stood out the most was his force, more than anything.”

Can the Pelicans return to the playoffs in 2023? A few NBA betting sites are giving New Orleans top-15 odds of winning a championship in the 2022-23 season.

Williamson was selected first overall by the Pelicans in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, the Duke product has struggled to remain on the court.

Through 85 career games, the 6’6″ wing has averaged 25.7 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game. Prior to his knee and foot injuries, he also averaged 60.4% from the floor and 33.3% from 3-point range.

During Williamson’s rookie 2019-20 season, in 24 starts, the forward averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Plus, he shot 58.3% from the field and an impressive 42.9% from downtown.

Pelicans head coach Willie Green compliments Zion Williamson after practice scrimmage

On March 1, 2020, in the Pelicans’ 122-114 loss against the Los Angeles Lakers, the big man logged a then career-high 35 points in 33 minutes of action. He finished 12-of-16 (75%) shooting.

He was then selected to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Furthermore, in 61 starts of the 2020-21 season, the wing recorded career-high numbers. He averaged 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per contest. Not to mention, he shot 61.1% from the floor.

Of course, Williamson received his first NBA All-Star selection in 2021. At the 2021 All-Star Game, the forward scored 10 points in 14 minutes as a starter.

On March 6, 2021, in the Pelicans’ 113-108 win over the Denver Nuggets, Williamson scored a career-high 39 points in 39 minutes. In addition to finishing with 10 rebounds and 5 assists, the wing shot 16-of-19 (84.2%) from the floor.

Fast forward to the 2022 offseason. In July, the Duke product signed a five-year rookie extension with the Pelicans worth $193 million guaranteed. If Zion Williamson receives an All-NBA honor in the 2022-23 season, this amount will increase to as much as $231 million.

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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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