Fans have been awaiting the return of Zion Williamson to the court after missing the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign due to a foot injury. The New Orleans Pelicans star was his usual dominant self in his first game back, but it seems he and his mother were not satisfied with his performance.
"It was a decent starter performance," Williamson said after the match. "I already spoke to my mom in the hallway. Hardest critic I got. It's a lot of room for improvement. I am still learning my teammates. Now we get real in-game reps. I'm just excited to grow."
Bulldozing the competition
The former All-Star's statement shows the standard he has set for himself, which is likely music to his supporters' ears. However, one would not have faulted him if he gave himself a pat on the back following his strong performance against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday.
Williamson finished the season opener with 25 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, and 4 steals. He was so unstoppable that Ben Simmons, a two-time NBA All-Defensive First-Team selection, was at his mercy for much of the evening.
What's next for Zion?
As Williamson said, he still has huge room for improvement. After all, he might still be on the road to recovery after playing in his first professional game in nearly 17 months. The good news is that it does not appear like he lost a step.
New Orleans is likely hoping the return of the former No. 1 pick can take the team to the next level.
Last season, they made the playoffs after defeating the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers in the play-in tournament. The Pels lost in the first round, but not before taking the first-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games. With Williamson back this season, it stands to reason that the Pelicans can finish better than they did in the 2021-22 campaign.