A Teenage Monster: Zion Williamson continues to make history in rookie season

NBA New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NBA New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

Zion Williamson, as a 19-year-old rookie for the New Orleans Pelicans, continues to make history

Monsters come in different sizes. Large. Small. But when it’s in reference to a 19-year-old teenager as a first-year pro in the NBA, he’s a different type of monster.

Despite a 122-114 loss Sunday night vs. LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, Zion Williamson was phenomenal yet again for the New Orleans Pelicans‘ with 35 points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. The scoring rampage hasn’t stopped. But let’s rewind back a couple of games.

As the final minutes dissipated in the Pelicans’ 116-104 Friday night win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the thought of being in the same context as Michael Jordan never crossed Zion Williamson’s mind.

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Ordinarily, the average teenager who aspires to play in the NBA has probably watched a few of MJ’s tapes. But there’s another thought. The possibility of making history.

For Zion, it’s never a thought. He just plays the game.

According to a recent ESPN report, Pelicans teammate Jahlil Okafor notified Williamson after a win against the Golden State Warriors that he was the first player since Michael Jordan to have four consecutive 25-point games while also shooting at least 57 percent. He scored 24 points against Cleveland shooting 11-of-16 from the field.

But there’s more. Williamson also became the first teenager in NBA history with 10 straight 20-point games. A flabbergasting number for fans, but Zion could care less. Zion told reporters that although breaking records in his rookie season is an exuberant feeling, he just enjoys the game of basketball.

The average 19-year-old doesn’t have the same thinking capacity as someone older. That’s because age defines maturity. But if you define Zion’s maturity as a rookie; you would have to dig deep to find a word that’s grammatically applicable. And so far, we haven’t found one sufficient enough.

Williamson’s maturity on and off the floor has to be the most compelling aspect besides his 20-point performances. The maturity level that Zion embodies is a component that teammates Lonzo Ball, Okafor, Jrue Holiday, and others can feed off of. It’s vital if the Pelicans’ have any chances of making the playoffs.

Digging back in the archives, I couldn’t identify a player whose numbers compared to Zion’s as a rookie besides Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, and Donovan Mitchell. It’s an astounding feat.

There’s one lingering question that still remains. Has he done enough to receive Rookie of the Year? It’s tough to say at this point. There are still games to be played in the regular season before we make the final verdict.

That verdict won’t come until the final votes are counted. If Williamson remains consistent, he’ll have a shot. But Ja Morant‘s credibility in terms of games played this season, has a different effect than Zion’s 10-game scoring rampage. The knee injury hindered Williamson’s Rookie of the Year conversation. But that conversation has been reasserted.

The motive for Zion is simple. Continue dominating and lead the Pelicans’ to the NBA playoffs. Then, the next focus for Williamson is to remain consistent throughout the season. Consistency is something Zion will learn throughout the process. He’s still in the incipient stages. His intelligence quotient is pretty efficient for a young player his age. The pugnacious attitude he displays on the floor is critical to his player development. Be confident and aggressive. Once he does that consistently, he’ll start to develop more confidence.

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Monsters come in different sizes. But name a monster that’s had a scoring rampage as this 19-year-old has. Can you name one? I can.