NBA

Zion impresses on Pelicans return but 'couldn't show them everything'

By Sports Desk October 05, 2022

Zion Williamson impressed in his return for the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday after missing the entire 2021-22 season, although he says he "couldn't show them everything".

The 2019 NBA Draft top overall pick put in a 15-minute cameo, scoring 13 points with four rebounds as the Pelicans won 129-125 over the Chicago Bulls in their preseason opener.

Williamson, 22, had not played competitively for the Pelicans for 514 days, dating back to May 2021, having sat out last season with a foot injury.

The power forward, who said he felt like he was at his best again at last week's media day, was impressive during his brief appearance, where he teamed up with an unfamiliar Pelicans line-up to that which he last played with following numerous personnel changes.

"Couldn't show them everything," Williamson told reporters. "But just kind of getting a feel for it again. Find spots. Picking and choosing where I want to attack.

"But I got a new team since the last time I played. I'm still learning some of the guys. Today we were able to click.

"I feel like if we can do that for the rest of these preseason games, I feel we'll be in pretty good shape."

The Pelicans struggled in Williamson's absence last season, missing the playoffs with a 36-46 record under head coach Willie Green.

"He looked good and he's just going to continue to get better," Green said about Williamson.

"That's what we know about Z. He works at it. He's a competitor. And you know it doesn't look like it, but he had 13 points, four rebounds in 15 minutes. That's the type of work he puts in on the floor."

Williamson averaged 27.0 points with 61.1 percent shooting, 3.7 assists and 7.2 rebounds across 61 games in the 2020-21 season before his foot injury. He only played 24 times in his rookie season in 2019-20 before becoming an NBA All-Star in 2021.

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