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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Zion Williamson

Video: Zion Williamson gave his jersey to JaVale McGee without asking for swap

Zion Williamson further cemented himself as a rising NBA superstar by going toe-to-toe with LeBron James on Sunday night, and JaVale McGee appreciated the performance so much that he wanted a souvenir from it. Williamson was happy to oblige, though it was a bit awkward that he didn’t ask for anything in return.

McGee, an 11-year NBA veteran, approached Williamson after the game to ask the rookie for his jersey. Players typically swap jerseys in situations like that, but Zion apparently didn’t need a souvenir from McGee.

Williamson obviously meant no disrespect to McGee, and it’s possible the 19-year-old just didn’t think to ask for McGee’s jersey. Of course, fans love ripping on McGee for some of the blunders he has made in the past, so plenty of people got a kick out of Williamson not bothering with the jersey swap.

Williamson had 35 points compared to LeBron’s 34, but the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 122-114. LeBron and Zion seemed to feed off one another, and LeBron showed the former Duke star some love after the game.

Zion Williamson makes history in latest Pelicans win

Zion Williamson

The New Orleans Pelicans have been the real deal since getting Zion Williamson back and healthy, and the 2019 No. 1 overall pick is more than living up to his draft status.

Williamson went 11/16 and scored 24 points in the Pelicans’ 116-104 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night. The 24-point game marked Williamson’s 10th straight 20-plus point game, which is an NBA record for a teenager. The previous record was nine straight 20-plus point games by a teen, held by Carmelo Anthony.

True to his humble nature, Williamson wasn’t celebrating the record he set.

“I think y’all and the world and the media are more happy for me than myself,” Williamson said, via NOLA.com. “Honestly, I don’t think much of it. I just want to get the win. My stepdad taught me growing me up that if the team has success, individual success will follow.”

Williamson is averaging 23.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season. The Pelicans are 8-5 in games he has played and are two games behind the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the west.

Zion Williamson does not feel LeBron James gets the respect he deserves

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson has a high opinion of LeBron James.

Williamson spoke about facing LeBron James and the Lakers ahead of Tuesday’s game in Los Angeles. The New Orleans Pelicans rookie spoke highly about LeBron.

“Sometimes I feel he doesn’t get the respect he deserves but it’s not for me to decide,” James said, via Omnisport.

James definitely has his share of haters, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. He has been widely regarded as the best basketball player in the world for most of the past decade. You can poke holes at his resume if you want to and take shots at him here or there, but he has immense respect from most sports fans.

It won’t take long for Zion to be in a similar category either. People already like to bring up one thing regarding the Pelicans rookie.

Zion Williamson reportedly weighs over 300 pounds

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson is a very big guy. In fact, he may be even bigger than we think he is.

In Monday’s episode of “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” Bill Simmons and guest Ryen Russillo were discussing the advantages a one-game NBA playoff could offer, including letting teams like the New Orleans Pelicans compete with the Los Angeles Lakers due to Zion Williamson’s talent. It was during this discussion that Simmons dropped a fun tidbit about Williamson.

“I heard from a reliable source that he is over 300 pounds,” Simmons said of Williamson.

Williamson is officially listed at 284 pounds. That’s not abnormal for a center, but Williamson is listed at 6-foot-6. Even his listed weight would be considered pretty heavy, much less the rumored 300-pound mark.

There were rumors that Nike wanted Williamson to drop some weight back around the start of the season. Considering Zion has been dominant since getting on the court, it’s probably not necessary for his play, but there will be worries about his long-term health as long as he’s hovering anywhere close to the 300-pound mark.

Video: Zion Williamson leaves Josh Hart hanging on high-five

Zion Williamson Josh Hart high five

New team, same old high-five struggles.

Zion Williamson left teammate Josh Hart waiting for a high-five in what was a seemingly awkward sequence during the New Orleans Pelicans’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

During the first quarter the game, Pelicans players were walking towards the bench for a stoppage in play. Hart had his hand up looking for a high-five from Williamson but got snubbed.

Some might question why Williamson was snubbing his teammate, but this is part of a running joke.

Hart’s high-five issues went back to the guard’s days with the Lakers:

Williamson also snubbed Hart in October:

The saga continues.

Alvin Gentry defends Zion Williamson’s minutes limit

Zion Williamson

New Orleans Pelicans fans aren’t happy with the restrictions being placed on Zion Williamson as he eases into NBA action for the first time, but coach Alvin Gentry won’t be changing his mind because of fan protests.

Williamson played 21 minutes in Friday night’s game, scoring 15 points and adding six rebounds, but sat on the bench at the end of it as the Pelicans lost to Denver. That prompted “we want Zion” chants from the home crowd in New Orleans, but Gentry was unmoved.

“It’s the way we’ve decided, it’s best for him right now and that’s what we’re going to stick to,” Gentry said, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “I know everybody gets real excited, and I hear every night that I’m the dumbest coach in the world about why would I take the guy out in the game of the last 5 minutes or 6 minutes? So I’ll live with that knowing that we’re doing the right thing.”

Williamson’s debut was incredibly exciting and promising, and it’s easy to understand why fans want to see more. However, he had knee surgery in October, and the last thing the Pelicans want to do is risk his future by overworking him now.

Video: Zion Williamson receives MVP chants during incredible debut

Zion Williamson

They are going to love Zion Williamson in New Orleans — and throughout the NBA.

Williamson made his long-awaited NBA debut on Wednesday night to great fanfare. Though he was on a strict minutes restriction from the Pelicans, he made a huge impact.

Williamson played the first four minutes or so to start each of the three quarters and had just five points to that point. In the fourth quarter though, Williamson caught fire and was so good the Pelicans let him play about seven minutes.

Williamson made four straight 3-pointers in one stretch and accounted for 17 straight points. He also assisted on four points before scoring 17 in a row, meaning he had his hand in 21 straight New Orleans points.

No surprise, the fans loved it and gave Zion “MVP” chants.

The Pelicans lost to the San Antonio Spurs 121-117, but you have to wonder how much different things would have been had Zion been allowed to play more. He finished with 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 18 minutes. He made four threes in his NBA debut after going his entire Duke career without making that many in a game.