Zion Williamson looks a lot faster in early practice footage
The New Orleans Pelicans opened training camp yesterday and all eyes were on Zion Williamson.
Zion is trying to return from injury so his offseason revolved around answering questions about his diet and workout routine.
Some of those questions were answered during media day, when Zion debuted a much-slimmer looking body and spoke about how he has never felt better.
He even claimed he was “moving faster” and “jumping higher” which if true is bad news for NBA defenders who already couldn’t stop Zion Williamson.
That claim was backed up by some early footage from practice that shows a noticeably slimmer Zion going from end-to-end with a burst and acceleration that we’ve not seen in 18 months, if ever. You can watch the short video here.
A faster Zion is going to be huge for the New Orleans Pelicans, who are at their best when they are playing fast.
New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson and playing fast
The Pelicans were 7th overall in steals last season and they scored the 6th-most fast break points, so this is a team that loves to get out and run.
The Pels will be focused on continued defensive improvement and have guys like Herb Jones, Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III and even rookie Dyson Daniels who are adept at getting into passing lanes for steals, so we can expect theme to be near the top of the league again next season.
This, coupled with Zion’s love of closing out on shooters, should lead to even more fast break points, with Zion continuing to zip up the court after challenging a shot on the perimeter. There aren’t a lot of bigs who can keep up with the Zion we see in that video, who got end-to-end in a flash.
Increased steals and fast break points should offset some of the inevitable growing pains the Pelicans are going to have in the half court as they try to figure out the spacing with Zion, Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas.
Zion appears to be up to the task, as he as moving as well as he ever has. Using his speed will hopefully remove some of the wear-and-tear on the body, as Williamson should be able to get some more easy buckets that don’t require plowing through three players in the lane.
Excitement around New Orleans basketball is at an all-time high and this early footage is only stoking the flames.