The loss in the opening round turned out to provide optimism to Pelicans fans on their future as they won two games without their star player Zion Williamson.
Would not be denied 😤 pic.twitter.com/OR7fvLcBFx— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 8, 2022
Williamson hasn’t stepped on the court since May 4, 2021, due to a broken right foot suffered while working out in the off-season. Missing all of last season due to the injury, Williamson will now return on Oct. 19 against the Brooklyn Nets, aiming to make a statement for all the chatters that labeled him a ‘bust.’
“I was in dark places at times,” said Williamson on his recovery. ” — just seeing how the world reacted? — It did a lot on my spirit.”
The 2019 first-overall pick showcased all of his raw athleticism at Duke University. However, a slew of injuries has grounded his ascent to superstardom in the League. Since 2019, Williamson has played 85 games with the Pelicans. For a four-year player, his unavailability has been a source of frustration, but when he’s been on the court, Williamsons’ greatness can’t be denied.
Williamson’s averaged 27.0 points while shooting 61.1 percent from the field with an impressive 125.3 offensive rating.
“They’re gonna see that my game has evolved,” said Williamson. “I’m gonna show the world things that I’ve had in my arsenal that I didn’t show before.”
Zion for 3️⃣ pic.twitter.com/M3hAKkUMw7— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) October 10, 2022
The Pelicans have high hopes for the dynamic duo of all-star Brandon Ingram and Williamson. Though he hasn’t played a game in over a year, Williamson is hopeful that his weight loss and a new bag of tricks will bring the Pelicans its first championship in franchise history.
“One of the main goals was to get Zion back to the same athletic ability he had before the injury,” said Williamson’s strengths and conditioning coach Jasper Bibbs. “In the process, he’s improved athletically. I truly think he’s a better athlete now than he was before. Once you guys see him on the court, I think you’ll agree.”