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Zion Williamson Lived Up to All the Hype This Season

Ryan Phillips
Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans
Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans / Sean Gardner/Getty Images
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Zion Williamson has suffered a fracture on the ring finger of his shooting hand. The injury will put him out indefinitely and could end his 2020-21 season. That would be a shame. The No. 1 pick from the 2019 NBA Draft lived up to all the hype that preceded his selection. He was everything the New Orleans Pelicans could have wanted this season and he's become a legitimate star.

While Williamson's Pelicans struggled this season -- New Orleans currently sits at 30-36, outside the Western Conference playoff picture -- he dominated. He set career-highs across the board and became one of the NBA's most dangerous players. He's earned All-NBA status, likely on the second team.

Williamson finished the campaign ranked ninth leaguewide in points per game (27.0) and fourth in PER (27.27), while also shooting 61.1 percent from the field. That's the highest points per game average from a player shooting over 60 percent on field goals in NBA history. He averaged 7.2 rebounds (up from 6.2 as a rookie), 3.7 assists (up from 2.1), and hit 69.8 percent of his free throws (up from 64 percent). His true shooting percentage of 64.9 ranked 12th in the NBA. Throw in the fact that he's one of the most watchable players in the league and everything was clicking this season.

The only blemish on an otherwise sterling campaign was Williamson's diminished 3-point shooting percentage. He shot 42.9 percent as a rookie on 0.6 attempts per game. That dropped to 29.4 percent on 0.6 attempts this season. It's an area of his game he'll need to work on.

Perhaps most importantly for Williamson, he stayed relatively healthy this season. He's only missed five of the Pelicans' 66 games, and has started all 61 he's played in. Zion wasn't bad as a rookie, averaging 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 27.8 minutes per game, but he only played in 24 games. He isn't much use to anyone on the bench, so this season was a huge step for him.

Williamson was one of the most hyped prospects we've ever seen coming out of Duke. Given his size and injury issues in college, many wondered if he'd ever live up to his billing. Well, his second season proved he could be everything he was advertised as.

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