Zion Williamson sets career-high in legacy defining statistic

Apr 3, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Detailed view of the hair of New Orleans Pelicans forward
Apr 3, 2024; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Detailed view of the hair of New Orleans Pelicans forward / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

They say the best ability is availability. Or durability. Either one. For the better part of his five year NBA career, Zion Williamson has possesed neither.

This season, Williamson flipped the script and stamped a new career-high in games played with 64. With one more game played (which should happen on Friday night against the Spurs), Zion will become eligible for postseason awards under the NBA's new rule of a 65 games played minimum.

Williamson's court presence has been a sight for Pelicans fans' sore eyes. The former Duke Blue Devils' high-flying athleticism and genius-level basketball IQ make for one of the most unique basketball players in the modern NBA.

His overall statistics of 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 5.0 assists are slightly down across the board from his usual numbers, but his efficiency statists are up. 2023-24 Zion is a heady playmaker that picks and chooses his spots to dominate while leaning on his teammates to guide the Pelicans to regular season victories.

Because of this, Zion's true potential may be unleashed come playoff time.

The can't-miss, best-prospect-of-a-generation, no-doubt-first-overall-pick talent is still in the enormous frame of Zion, and New Orleans will need every ounce of that talent if they want to progress through the gauntlet of the Western Conference.

The West is loaded with star power. The Pelicans currently sit as the seven seed out West, and their path to a title is stacked with superstars. A play-in game against the Kings, a first round series against the Nuggets, a second round series against the Thunder, and a Western Conference Final against the Timberwolves. Damontas Sabonis, Nikola Jokic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Edwards all serve as boss battles on the Pelicans way to fighting the final boss of the Boston Celtics, the Eastern Conference's likely Finals representative.

Zion Williamson needs to hit the gas come playoff time for New Orleans to progress in the West, and thankfully, he's had the longest runway of his career to get ready for takeoff.