Zion Williamson is more than ready to make his NBA debut on Wednesday night, exactly three months after the official start of the 2019-20 season.
Waiting the last 24 hours or so before that game, however, will likely prove to be difficult for the reigning No. 1 overall draft pick.
“Honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to get sleep [tonight],” Williamson said, via 4WWL. “I’ll be too excited thinking about my first NBA game.”
Williamson — who underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn right lateral meniscus in October — will make his debut in the New Orleans Pelicans’ game against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night at the Smoothie King Center. He was initially given a six-to-eight week recovery window after his surgery, however it’s now been nearly 14 weeks since that took place.
The Pelicans didn’t rush his recovery at all, either, wanting to ensure that he was completely healthy before allowing him to take the court.
At times, Williamson said, that really started to wear on him.
“There was a lot of times where I just wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs, because it’s frustrating not being able to move your body the way you want to, not to make athletic movements,” Williamson said, via 4WWL. “It’s tough, especially because I’m 19 and I haven’t even played my first NBA game. It’s tough, but I battled through it.”
Rejoining a Pelicans team on the rise
The Pelicans struggled without Williamson at the beginning of the year, too, starting with an abysmal 6-22 record — which even caused some to call for coach Alvin Gentry’s job.
The team has since turned things around. New Orleans boasts a 17-27 record heading into Wednesday’s game, having won five of its last seven, and is now within striking distance of claiming the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Perhaps with Williamson’s return, the team can make the last push necessary to make the postseason after all.
“We did go through a bad stretch, but things have turned around,” Williamson said, via 4WWL. “Everybody’s been playing better. I’m just looking to go join in and have some fun.”
He doesn’t think it’ll take long to get adjusted with the rest of the team, either.
“I think there will be a learning curve, but I don’t think it’ll be nothing dramatic,” Williamson said. “I think we’re pros. I think we’ll just adapt maybe after a game or two.”
Undoubtedly, all eyes will be on Williamson on Wednesday night.
And after months of waiting, it’s understandable that some may think there is some extra pressure sitting on his shoulders, too.
Williamson, though, isn’t feeling it.
“I’m not really putting no pressure on it at all,” Williamson said, via 4WWL. “I love to play basketball, so I’m just looking to go out there, have fun and compete.”
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