New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry will have heaved a sigh of relief despite the Pelicans’ 117-121 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night (Thursday morning IST). Pelicans’ rookie Zion Williamson made his much-awaited NBA debut during the Spurs vs Pelicans match-up at the Smoothie King Center, which means that coach Alvin Gentry will no longer have to answer any questions regarding the timeline of the Duke phenomenon’s NBA debut. While his debut may have ended in a losing cause, Zion Williamson took the NBA by storm in just 18 minutes of action in New Orleans.
No. 1 overall draft pick @Zionwilliamson goes for 22 PTS (4-4 3PM), including 17 straight 4th quarter points, in his NBA debut for the @PelicansNBA! #NBARooks x #WontBowDown pic.twitter.com/WrcChMAWSe— NBA (@NBA) January 23, 2020
It took Zion Williamson just 18 minutes to showcase his array of skills at the Smoothie King Center. With 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists, Zion Williamson not only set the NBA alight but also wrote his name in the history books. Shooting four-of-four from deep, Zion Williamson set the franchise record for most points for a rookie on an NBA debut. But that wasn’t all. With 22 points in 18 minutes of play, Zion Williamson also set the NBA record for most points scored in under 20 minutes on an NBA debut in the shot-clock era. An eventful debut, to say the least.
Jrue on Zion going 4-4 from three— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 23, 2020
"alright boy, you been practicing" 🤣 pic.twitter.com/BbMdbUwOv9
There were tidal waves of hype surrounding Zion Williamson’s expected debut for the Pelicans. The last time he donned a Pelicans jersey was back in pre-season. On Wednesday night, the Smoothie King Center rose with expectation every time the ball made its way to Zion Williamson. The Pelicans rookie’s 22-point display included 17 straight points in Q4. NBA fans would have to go back 16 years for as eventful an NBA debut as this. That was the year LeBron James announced himself to the NBA in convincing fashion. The 15-time NBA All-Star racked up 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists, four steals and two turnovers in 42 minutes of action. The then-Cleveland Cavaliers rookie ultimately ended up with the Rookie of the Year award that season.