Pelicans: Zion Williamson already told us when he would take more threes

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

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson already said when he’d shoot more 3-pointers

New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson surprised us in his NBA debut. While most were expecting a Ben Simmons-esque rim-running evening from Williamson as he found his footing on that night in late January, he instead attempted (and made) four 3-pointers.

Maybe it was to send a message and preemptively nip the questions in the bud about his 3-point shot. As we’ve seen from players like Simmons, a media circus will follow if you refuse to shoot the long ball as a player dominant at the rim.

Or perhaps it just felt right in the moment.

Regardless of what it was, it was unconventional. Williamson has attempted more than one 3-pointer in just one other of his 19 games this season. 30.7 percent of his attempted career threes so far came during his debut. 19.2 percent of his attempted field goals are dunks. 76.7 percent of his field goal attempts are within three feet of the rim. A whopping 95.5 percent of his field goal attempts are 2-pointers.

We shouldn’t be surprised. Williamson doesn’t need the 3-pointer in volume, and he’s been saying that for years.

Zion Williamson told us a long time ago why he doesn’t take jump shots

Speaking to DraftExpress in 2016, Zion Williamson said he had a jump shot he had been working on that he doesn’t utilize all that much because he simply doesn’t have to, alluding to the fact that he was playing with less physically imposing players.

"“I have a jump shot and I’ve been working on it a lot. See, you know, playing young, playing up, and my body is like physically advanced, so I can always get to the basket when I get to college it’s not going to be that easy and that’s when I’m going to have to utilize my jump shot,” Williamson said."

Williamson’s frame at that point was far superior to his opponents. Many tried, some nobly, but most failed.

Williamson, in his last 10 games before the season was suspended, attempted just three 3-pointers. If his prerogative is to only take threes when he needs to, is he simply saying his rim-running game is too good for NBA defenses?

It’s certainly proven to be a huge asset for him and the Pelicans. Williamson has made 51 dunks this season, 22.7 percent of his points coming on dunks. In March, he had the sixth-most dunks in the league.

He may need a more diverse game once the team is in Orlando and trying to keep up with the Grizzlies.

So, when will Williamson revert back to that 3-point shot we saw on his debut evening?

Once the league shows him he needs to.

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