The hype around Zion Williamson was real, and we're witnessing it this season. Pelicans' forward has elevated his games in his second NBA season which earned him his first All-Star nod. His qualities are well known - his first step is explosive, and his change of pace and direction leaves his opponents in the dust. Along with his body frame and freakish athleticism, Zion is a nightmare match-up for most league players.
Zion, however, isn't only a mean dunker and finisher around the rim. He's also a decent ball-handler, and the Pelicans are more and more exploiting that side of his game so that he can operate like a point-forward in some situations. Of course, he isn't on a point guard level, but he's averaging 3.3 assists per game and opens the court a lot more for his teammates.
Zion's better understanding of the game earned him praise from his teammate Steven Adams. The Pelicans center says that Zion's been putting a lot of work in lately.
"It's been good, bro. It's amazing, honestly, super-talented, super-skilled player. And, um, it's just one of those things, you kind of take it for granted because you just assume he's just there but, that shouldn't take away from the actual hard work and stuff that goes into making that accomplishment. It's one of those things, bro. It's a really good stepping stone for him, but I feel like--I haven't talked to him about it--but I feel like he has a lot bigger goals than just the All-Star. It's a good little stepping stone, but I have a feeling he's not finished."
Steven Adams, via Reddit
Adams added that Zions could be averaging a lot more than his season average of 25.6 points per game (with 61.8/ shooting from the field).
"Legit we could just throw him the ball every single play and 'go ahead mate'. He could easily get 50. He's playing good, mate. If anyone else disagrees, get outta here mate. It's just stupid. I don't have to say much."
Steven Adams, via Reddit
Adams isn't the only player who admires Zion. Brandon Ingram, who played with LeBron, said that Zion's talent is unmatched.
"I've never played with a player as talented as me. And he's a generational talent."
Brandon Ingram, via Yahoo Sports
Still, the Pelicans are yet to figure out how to cash in on Zion's better displays. They are in 11th place in the West, far from playoff discussions with a 14-18 record. It's on Stan Van Gundy to put the pieces together in this talented team.