Zion Williamson, increasingly decisive and key to New Orleans Pelicans: “I try to do the best reading” | NBA.com Argentina

02/22/2021

New Orleans Pelicans

Despite having only 53 games as a professional player, Zion Williamson He has more than proven himself more than ready for the NBA, with an offensive impact unprecedented in the last decade and an unparalleled talent to condition the opposing defense. The player progression of the New Orleans Pelicans Over the last few weeks it has been part of a natural process of adaptation and sustained growth, the result of the continuity it is having as well as a physical state conducive to maintaining a high volume of minutes.

MORE | New Orleans Pelicans come back to Boston Celtics and win in overtime with Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson as guides

During the last game against the Boston Celtics, Zion proved to be a mature player and prepared for the next step in his professional career, going from completing a poor first half where he accumulated 1 of 5 in field goals and 3 losses to being the figure of the Pelicans in their 24-point comeback. From the hands of the Duke playerthey urged 21 of New Orleans’ 61 goals in the second half, 13 of them in the fourth quarter, including a 2 + 1 that could have meant victory in regulation time had it not been for Jayson Tatum.

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This change experienced after the break injected an extra motivation to their teammates, allowing figures like Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart to focus on defensive tasks, as well as unload creative weight on an inspired Brandon Ingram. It was precisely the forward who was in charge of sealing the victory for Pelicans in extra time by 120 to 115, finishing with 33 points.

“It was a great victory for us because we stayed true to who we were,” Williamson said. “We recover. Everyone, coaches, players, everyone was committed and we needed all that energy, and we went ahead. “

“I think it was about the will to want to win,” said the pviote wing. “We just wanted to win. We didn’t want to be beaten on our court. We fought. We played hard. It didn’t look good at first, but we found out and we managed to win.r”.

A Williamson who brought out his best version at the right time, managing to finish with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists with 51% accuracy in field goals, what makes your ninth consecutive match with more than 20 points and a 50% effectiveness, something that has not been seen in a sophomore player since Karl-Anthony Towns in 2017 and that, in fact, is the third highest mark for a second-year player.

The great game that the Pelicans player completed converged in a decisive moment, the presumable final play against Tristan Thompson who he surpassed and left on the ground to score despite the contact. One last action that has traditionally been reserved for Ingram, but that Van Gundy decided to give up Zion for the moment he was in as well as the most auspicious pairing.

“That meant a lot to me”commented the protagonist. “That is why every player puts in hard work, to be in those moments. Assistant coach Teresa Weatherspoon especially. When he saw that I was frustrated in the first half, he came to me and gave me a lot of words about confidence. It means a lot”.

“Everyone looked at me at the time like, ‘We are with you. Whatever decision you make, we are with you.’ Having people like that behind me means a lot.”

Beyond a highlight machine, Zion Williamson is becoming a smart gamer, reading correct and developing as a budding game generator. The 20-year-old is still far from being able to carry the offensive weight of a team on his shoulders, but he is taking the right steps to do so.

After not accumulating not reaching the minimum number of possessions (10) as a finisher in the direct block as a manager last season, preferably being used as a finisher (50 possessions, 1.16 dpi), in 2021 with Van Gundy the dynamics have changed considerably. In the 51 total possessions he has had as a pick & roll finisher, Williamson has produced 1.15 points per possession with a 56% accuracy, placing himself on a par with players like Giannis Antetokounmpo (1.13 ppi) and ahead of others like Pascal Siakam (0.96 ppi) or Ben Simmons (0 , 78 dpi).

Thus, the winning basket emerged from his reading of the game from the direct block, connecting with Ingram on the side that 30 seconds from the end of extra time he connected a decisive triple.

“Whenever I’m on the pick-and-roll as a ball handler, I try to do the best reading,” Williamson said. “I think in that situation, after getting to the basket a couple of times, I read that they were going to collapse. As soon as they collapsed, Brandon is a shooter. He was there, so I made the pass.”

“Today was an encouraging day. We stayed together and they all did things they do well,” Brandon Ingram assured. “I don’t think Zion needed any additional encouragement. He made a play that we believe in and he was right.”

With this victory against Boston the Pelicans break a streak of 2 consecutive losses and are 13-17 in 11th position in the West and with options to continue climbing the table.

The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the NBA or its organizations.

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