The man-child, 19-year-old New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson is only three games into his professional career. In that short amount of time, the 2019 NBA Draft’s first overall pick has quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with throughout the league. On Friday night, he dominated the low post against reigning Defensive Player Of The Year, Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert.
The rookie showed great agility and strength during the matchup, attacking the basket with ease. For the game, the Duke alumni shot 75% from the field while powering in 26 points in just 23 minutes of action. The Pelicans defeated the Jazz 128-127 in the preseason matchup at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
At one point, Zion shot a floater over Gobert that banged off the rim. Immediately, the Pelicans’ forward forced his way to the rim, jumped up and slammed down a putback dunk on his own rebound.
Gobert complimented the rookie on his strong play, and according to ESPN said, “He’s kind of surprisingly agile. I think he catches a lot of people off guard because of that. He can change direction pretty quick.”
When asked about facing off against the Jazz’s defensive stalwart, Zion’s response was very humble and complimentary. “You gotta give him respect, two-time Defensive Player of the Year,” Williamson said. “Just gotta go in there strong and try to finish.”
It’s very early in the season. Heck, it’s only the preseason but New Orleans is 3-0. Moreso, Zion’s at-will performance against Gobert is a testament that the youngster possesses physical tools that will allow him to be transcending for years to come. His size and strength generate raw power, which allows him to attack the basket in a fashion not seen since Shaquille O’neal and LeBron James each entered the NBA. The man can body up, follow up and finish. No doubt about it.
Also, let’s not forget about his jump-shot…Williamson showcased his range by making a long three-pointer from the left side of the arc. That should silence some of his critics!
Header Photo Credit: ESPN