New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson is having an MVP-caliber season.
One year after injuries kept him out of the Pelicans’ 2021-22 NBA campaign, he is back with an absolute vengeance.
Not only is he averaging 20.0 points per game on 60.2 percent shooting from the field and 36.8 percent shooting from three, but Williamson is also chipping in 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists per outing.
By any objective measure, Williamson is quite the basketball the player. That said – he could have taken a different path in life.
The Pelicans recently published a video of the 22-year-old dropping back with a football and throwing an absolute missile down the field.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 29, 2022
To say that he would be better than any quarterback currently on the New York Jets would be an understatement.
Williamson’s impressive throw caught the attention of NBA and NFL fans alike:
He has a better arm than Tua https://t.co/VENV4Gpwy2
— Le’Vxsione (@ElTxjudine) December 30, 2022
— WHODATBOSS (@whodatboss) December 30, 2022
If you know you know lmao. W Pels admin https://t.co/MPdL4JRGIx
— Tanner Melahn (@Tanner23062) December 30, 2022
Cannon arm https://t.co/2UXTTTgNUR
— Kris (@thugstools) December 30, 2022
damn, he really do be playing football https://t.co/1WShtoulOO
— crana (@cranajames) December 29, 2022
Why did the Pelicans opt to post this particular video of Williamson on their social media? Most likely due to a recent comment made by Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell.
“He’s playing football, we playing basketball. We can’t touch him or guard him, so good for him.” – D-Lo after Zion’s 43-point career night
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 29, 2022
“He’s playing football, we playing basketball,” Russell said of Williamson.
“We can’t touch him or guard him, so good for him.”
Obviously Williamson doesn’t care much about the criticism, though. His Pelicans team, a group that nobody took seriously just a few years ago, is 23-13 and sits second in the Western Conference.
After all the drama about him being too fat, and then too skinny, and then too bad of a teammate and then wanting to join another NBA team, and then his leaked DMs brouhaha – it is nice that Williamson can finally become the player everyone thought he would be.
The photos speak for themselves. https://t.co/69D1YRHqTO
— Game 7 (@game7__) December 30, 2022
As the Memphis Grizzlies proved last year, it is sometimes difficult to go from no playoff success to immediate playoff success. So expecting Williamson to guide New Orleans to a title in 2023 is likely unrealistic.
That said, it all starts with putting together a strong regular season. And so far Williamson is doing precisely that.
The Pelicans finished 2022 with a ton of momentum. Whether they will be able to build on that in the new year remains to be seen.