The Zion Williamson era in New Orleans has begun.
After missing the first half of his rookie season, the No. 1 overall pick needed just one game to put the basketball world on notice, reminding everyone just how special of a talent he is.
With all eyes on him, the legend will only continue to grow.
As he records monster stat lines, adds to his ever-growing list of highlight dunks and continues to establish himself as a force in this league, we'll chronicle the best from each game in his monumental rookie season.
Game 12: Stars in comeback win vs. Warriors
Zion's line: 28 PTS, 7 REBS, 2 ASTS in 33 MINS
The result: New Orleans Pelicans 115, Golden State Warriors 101
An eighth straight 20+ point game for Zion Williamson, as he combined with Jrue Holiday to spark the Pelicans to a 12-point comeback win in San Francisco.
8 straight with 20+ for Zion!@Zionwilliamson's 28 PTS, 7 REB push the @PelicansNBA past GSW on the road!#NBARooks x #WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/w2XYKVT95i- NBA (@NBA) February 24, 2020
This is Williamson's fourth straight game scoring 25+ at better than 55% shooting, becoming the fourth rookie to do so since the NBA-ABA merger after Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Jay Williams.
Game 11: Keeping the good games coming
Zion's line: 25 PTS, 4 REBS, 3 ASTS in 29 MINS
The result: New Orleans Pelicans 128, Portland Trail Blazers 115
In a wire-to-wire win for the Pelicans in Portland, Williamson increased of 20+ point games to seven.
Zion Williamson is the youngest player in @NBAHistory to score 20+ PTS in seven straight games. Previous youngest was Carmelo Anthony in 2004. pic.twitter.com/ljzoLmKRkt- NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) February 22, 2020
He became the first rookie in the last 20 seasons with three straight games of 20 or more points in the paint.
Game 10: Making history
Zion's line: 32 PTS, 6 REBS, 1 AST in 31 MINS
The result: Oklahoma City Thunder 123, New Orleans Pelicans 118
In addition to setting a new career-high against the Thunder, Williamson became only the third No. 1 pick over the last 30 years to score 200 points in their first 10 games.
The two other players who did it? Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.
Zion Williamson is now over 200 points (and counting) through 10 career games...- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2020
Over the last 30 seasons, the only former No. 1 picks to score 200 points within their first 10 career games are Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal (238 in 1992-93) and Allen Iverson (224 in 1996-97). pic.twitter.com/kDPrJec0nu
Game 9: A new career-high
Zion's line: 31 PTS, 9 REBS, 5 ASTS in 28 MINS
The result: New Orleans Pelicans 138, Portland Trail Blazers 117
According to Elias Sports, Williamson became the first rookie since NBA-ABA merger in 1976-77 to record a 30-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game in 30 minutes or less with this performance.
Williamson once again did it in spectacular fashion - three of his 10 made shots were dunks.
🗣 WE'RE GLAD YOU'RE ON OUR TEAM @Zionwilliamson pic.twitter.com/z95T453rXK- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 12, 2020
Game 7: First contest vs. the reigning MVP
Zion's line: 20 PTS, 7 REBS, 5 ASTS in 33 MINS
The result: Milwaukee Bucks 120, New Orleans Pelicans 108
Williamson's first matchup against the reigning MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't disappoint. The duo went head-to-head on a few plays, providing many with a duel we could be set to see for a long time.
Advantage Greek Freak 💪#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/1E0Rf9j4r2- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 5, 2020
Though he found a way to stuff the stat sheet, this was Williamson's toughest game yet, as he shot just 5-for-19 from the field - the first time in his NBA career that he has shot less than 50.0% from the field.
Game 5: Career-high 24 as Pelicans with 3rd straight
Zion's line: 24 PTS (9-15 FG), 6 REBS, 3 ASTS, team-high +25 in 29 MINS
The result: New Orleans Pelicans 139, Memphis Grizzlies 111
Williamson won the first of three possible matchups between the top two picks of the 2019 NBA Draft.
Zion & Ja swap jerseys ✊ pic.twitter.com/L6YSQCFGqU- NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 1, 2020
Williamson's best bucket in this game was easily this one:
Zion caught it from BEHIND THE BACKBOARD! #WBD pic.twitter.com/gQGTiC29VG- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 1, 2020
Game 4: First road game. First win streak and a season-high in minutes
Zion's line: 14 PTS (7-13 FG's), 9 REBS, 1 AST in 30 MINS
The result: New Orleans Pelicans 125, Cleveland Cavaliers 111
The rookie gets his first taste of win streak in his first career road game as the Pelicans use a huge first quarter (40 points) to victory in Cleveland.
For Williamson, the game marked a career-high in minutes (30) as he scored 14, his fourth straight double-digit scoring game in as many games.
Zion Williamson finished with 14 points (7-13 FG) in the Pelicans win against the Cavaliers.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 29, 2020
Zion is now the first 1st-round pick to have at least 10 points and shoot better than 50% in his first 4 career NBA games.
(h/t @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/eyVdOJCs0A
Not a lot of highlights in this one but he did his bit. Just took care of his business with zero turnovers in his time on the floor.
Coming throughhhhhhh 💨@Zionwilliamson | #WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/E5jg3B3FeD- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 29, 2020
Game 3: First double-double. First W
Zion's line: 21 PTS (9-16 FG), 11 REB in 27 MIN
The result: New Orleans Pelicans 123, Boston Celtics 108
More minutes meant more production for Williamson, who recorded the first double-double of his NBA career.
And, of course, he provided the highlights as well.
Lonzo finds Zion above the rim 💪 pic.twitter.com/WbdsLYwwbz- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 27, 2020
If the shot doesn't quite fall, Zion's got you 💪 pic.twitter.com/oebJcq4jV1- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 27, 2020
Game 2: The Follow Up
No. 1 overall pick @Zionwilliamson records 15 PTS (7-9 FGM), 6 REB and one emphatic block in his 2nd career game! #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/QuUWHkpn0z- NBA (@NBA) January 25, 2020
Zion's line: 15 PTS (7-9 FG), 6 REB in 21 MIN
The result: Denver Nuggets 113, New Orleans Pelicans 106
He didn't sink four triples but Zion did a solid job following up a historic debut.
Ultimately, we'll remember this one for two things...
Zion's first career dunk.
THAT'S THE ONE pic.twitter.com/vErDh1SjP0- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 25, 2020
And the block.
ZION WHAT THE- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 25, 2020
If y'all see that ball rolling down Poydras Street later, let us know pic.twitter.com/ckR5PXmHRV
As the minutes increase, so will the highlights. And the wins.
Game 1: The Debut
Zion's line: 22 PTS (8-11 FG, 4-4 3PT), 7 REB, 3 AST in
The result: San Antonio Spurs 121, New Orleans Pelicans 117
After missing the first 44 games of the season, Williamson made his highly-anticipated debut as the Pelicans hosted the Spurs.
It was well worth the wait.
Playing in short three to four-minute bursts, Williamson didn't do much in the first three quarters, scoring just five points.
In the fourth quarter, he exploded.
Zion Williamson's (22 PTS, 4-4 3PM) back-to-back triples and free throw capped his 17 straight PTS for the @PelicansNBA! ☔️- NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2020
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/GSvIdlFn5H
The 19-year-old scored 17 straight points in the fourth quarter, including a perfect 4-for-4 display from beyond the arc, electrifying the home crowd at the Smoothie King Center. A sign of things to come.
Preseason averages: 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals per game
The hype began during his lone season at Duke and it was substantiated in the preseason.
While exhibition wins and losses are inconsequential, Zion did nothing short of impress in his first games against professional competition.
Just look at the numbers:
- Oct. 7 vs. Atlanta - 16 PTS (6-13 FG), 7 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL in 28 MIN
- Oct. 9 vs. Chicago - 29 PTS (12-13 FG), 4 REB, 4 AST in 27 MIN
- Oct. 11 vs. Utah - 26 PTS (9-12 FG), 5 REB,1 AST in 23 MIN
- Oct. 13 vs. San Antonio - 22 PTS (8-11 FG), 10 REB, 2 STL in 31 MIN
If there were any doubts, they should have been erased by the final preseason game.