It was only one game but Zion Williamson made a solid impression in his NBA debut, an exhibition game against the Atlanta Hawks and his old Duke teammate Cam Reddish.
Williamson finished with a solid line - 17 points, seven boards, three assists, three steals and (unfortunately) four turnovers.
That'll get better as time goes on.
However, he asserted himself and showed that his athleticism translates nicely to the league with several highlight dunks.
His coach, Alvin Gentry, was impressed: “He had some great moments and I liked some of the things that he did. The physicality about his game, especially offensively, will put him on the foul line quite a bit and so that’s always good getting into the bonus early.
“I think he’s going to improve and showed that he can get to the basket. Defensively, he has work to do but that’s pretty much the case with every young kid that comes into this league.”
He made a quick but expected impact. The unexpected impact?
Italian Niccolo Melli, who was solid off the bench and apparently somewhat shocked Atlanta fans. Williamson had an impressive +/- of +18. Melli? Try +29. The Pelicans may have a surprise on their hands.
For his part, Reddish got 15 minutes and scored 11 points, hitting 3-4 three pointers.
There was a lot more Duke news as Jabari Parker is now on the Hawks and then there’s the rest of Duke South.
Parker had 10 points and five rebounds off the bench.
Back to the Pels: Brandon Ingram started and got 19 points on 6-12 from the floor and 2-4 from deep. He also had six boards.
Jahlil Okafor had 11 points, six boards and three assists while Frank Jackson finished with nine points and JJ Redick seven.
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