Zion Williamson doesn’t have to lead the Pelicans in scoring

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports)
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New Orleans Pelicans have gone undefeated in their first two games of the season even though Zion Williamson has gotten off to a relatively slow start.

Zion is returning from over a year away from basketball, so he naturally looks a little rusty to start the season, but it hasn’t much mattered, as the Pels have rolled in their first two games, with Zion’s teammates stepping up.

It’s only two games, and Zion Williamson is certainly going to pick things up, which should be scary  for the rest of the NBA, as the Pels have looked like one of the best teams in the league and Zion hasn’t even gotten going yet.

He’s currently 4th on the team in scoring behind Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas and CJ McCollum, scoring just over 20 points per game in the first two.

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Zion has shot just 43.9 percent from the field so far this season, a number that is certainly going to go up. He’s missed a bunch of shots that he normally makes, and has just had some bad luck with shots rattling out as he tries to shake the rust off.

We know Zion Williamson will eventually lead this team in scoring (or be second) but the thing is, he doesn’t have to.

New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson’s scoring

The reason the Pels are so difficult to stop is that they have a never-ending stream of guys who can score, not just Zion.

Even when Zion isn’t making 60 percent of his shots, as he has done for most of his career, his presence alone is enough to get his teammates going.

Jonas Valanciunas has already benefitted tremendously from Zion being out there, as he has gotten some easy buckets when his defender goes to help on Williamson. His offensive rebounds are up to five per game, again, partially because of Zion getting all of the attention.

And what can you say about the start Brandon Ingram has had other than he looks like an MVP candidate? He has scored 28 per game in the first two on an incredible 54 percent shooting, and he too has benefitted from the attention that Zion commands on the offensive end.

CJ McCollum is scoring over 21 per game and Trey Murphy III has also raised his scoring numbers, with both guys getting open looks off of Zion’s gravity.

Unlike years past, Zion has more than one guy who can pick him up if he has an off night, and even if he doesn’t lead the team in scoring, he creates better looks for his teammates. Willie Green preaches sharing the ball and as Zion gets better at passing out of double teams, his influence on the other scorers is going to be even more profound.

The Pels are going to be very difficult to stop this season, as teams that sell out trying to stop Zion are just going to get beaten by everyone else.

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