Zion Williamson on Rookie Season with Pelicans: 'It's Been a Crazy Journey'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2020

FILE - In this March 6, 2020, file photo, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson walks onto the court during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat in New Orleans. The rookie sensation’s availability to play remained unclear as the season’s resumption in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, approached. He left the NBA’s so-called “bubble” setup on July 16 to attend to an unspecified family medical matter. A week later, the club had yet to provide an update on his possible return.  (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza, File)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

The first season in the NBA for Zion Williamson was unique, to say the least.

The New Orleans Pelicans star played just 24 games as his team failed to earn a spot in the postseason, but he still remains confident about the future. 

"We're not in the playoffs and we didn't reach the goal we wanted to reach, but our potential for the future is bright," Williamson said Thursday, per Jim Eichenhofer. "That's a starting point. We just build off that."

Beyond Williamson, the Pelicans are loaded with young talent, including Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Jaxson Hayes, while Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick are among the veterans still under contract for next season.

Ingram is a restricted free agent, but New Orleans can match any offer to keep the All-Star on the roster.

Going 2-5 in Orlando, Florida, was a massive disappointment considering the opportunity to make the playoffs or at least earn a spot in the play-in series, but there should still be high hopes for this franchise.

It's especially true if Williamson can stay healthy for a full season.

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The 2019 No. 1 overall pick began his career with the kind of hype reminiscent of LeBron James' pro debut, but a knee injury sidelined him to start the season. He impressed when he was on the court, though, averaging 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in just 27.8 minutes.

If he maintains that level of production as his minutes ramp up, individual and team success in 2020-21 seem inevitable.