As Zion Williamson stepped onto the floor to make his NBA Debut last night, New York Knicks fans were watching with close intent.
During the first three quarters, it was an NBA debut to forget for Zion Williamson. Limited minutes which never allowed him to hit a groove, clunkiness in his play, and only five points to show for it. I couldn’t tell you how many times the commentary crew for ESPN said he looked overweight on the floor.
But there was still one quarter left to play…
17 points, six of eight shooting from the field, and the first player in NBA history to go a perfect four of four from three or better in his NBA debut. Williamson was unconscious and not only made the crowd erupt at the Smoothie King Center, but he single-handedly carried the New Orleans Pelicans back into a game that the San Antonio Spurs had every reason to win.
Even if he didn’t look good in his debut, fans would understand considering this was his first taste of NBA action since coming off knee surgery, but he was great. Not only that, but he stepped up with the whole world watching.
Saying that, I’m willing to bet that Knicks fans played a role in those viewing numbers.
Whether they were watching just to watch, or to see if the hype was really worth it, I’m willing to bet that the fans of New York wanted to see where Zion stacked up next to their standout rookie, RJ Barrett. Is it way too early to tell which of the two is better? Of course, it is, but there were some key takeaways that I noticed.
What we saw from the two of them at Duke is incredibly similar to what we saw last night. Now that both of them have NBA action under their belts, it’s easy to see that Williamson and Barrett have always been and are still incredibly dynamic players. Their toolsets translate well to the NBA level and there isn’t one facet of their games that didn’t translate from college to the pros.
However, the four threes that Williamson hit were a little confusing to me, considering he only converted 34 percent of the 71 threes he shot at Duke. But hey, when you have the hot hand, it makes sense.
Overall, if you were a Knicks fan watching last night and there was a chance you were hoping he didn’t play well out of any amount of spite towards your lottery luck, you didn’t get your wish. You should still feel good though despite the storybook debut of Williamson.
You still undoubtedly have a future star at your organization with Barrett and he’s going to be around for a long time based on his prior enthusiasm towards the organization. It was a win-win last night; the Pelicans got their man and so do the Knicks.
Now, the scars of the mecca can begin to heal knowing that there’s some form of closure in this whole situation and that you didn’t just receive a consolation prize.