Zion Williamson Is a 'Generational Talent,' Pelicans' Brandon Ingram Says

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) celebrates with forward Brandon Ingram (14) and guard Eric Bledsoe (5) following the team's win over the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Derick Hingle)
Derick Hingle/Associated Press

Brandon Ingram praised fellow New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson after the 2019 first overall pick was selected as an NBA All-Star for the first time Tuesday night. 

"I've never played with a player as talented as me," Ingram told reporters after Wednesday's victory over the Detroit Pistons. "He's a generational talent."

Williamson (25.6 points per game) and Ingram (24.0) have emerged as a terrific one-two punch for the Pelicans, but New Orleans hasn't received quite enough production elsewhere on its roster during a 14-16 start that's left them in danger of falling behind in the highly competitive Western Conference.

The Pelicans are currently 11th in the West, which is one spot behind the play-in cutoff with four games remaining in the season's first half.

While they have the talent to make a serious surge after the All-Star break, Williamson's emergence as a true high-end franchise cornerstone will make this a productive year, even if they miss the playoffs.

The 20-year-old Duke product is shooting 61.8 percent from the field, which ranks fifth in the NBA and he's attempting over seven shots more per game than anybody else in the top five. He's also averaging 6.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists across 31 appearances in his second season.

He ranks fourth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating behind only the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid and Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, per ESPN.

Williamson has dealt with that "generational talent" label since he started to make a massive impact as a freshman at Duke after arriving as a 5-star prospect.

So far, there's been nothing to suggest he won't live up to those sky-high expectations over the course of the next 10 or 15 years.