Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson

21-Year-Old ForwardF
New Orleans Pelicans
Out
Injury Foot
Est. Return 11/2/2021
2021 Fantasy Outlook
After a brief-but-impressive rookie campaign, Williamson improved enough as a sophomore to make his first All-Star team. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick averaged 27.0 points on an absurd 61.1 percent shooting while tallying 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 33.2 minutes. That resulted in him ranking 50th in fantasy on a per-game basis. There are still clear holes in Williamson's game -- including his poor free-throw shooting (69.8 percent on 8.7 attempts), subpar defense (0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks) and a lack of a three-point shot (0.2 makes on 29.4 percent) -- but he's so dominant as a scorer that those weaknesses aren't holding him down much. Maybe the biggest indicator of how unstoppable he can be is that he was fouled on 22.5 percent of his shot attempts -- the third-highest number last season of players who saw at least 1,000 minutes and notably above Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. Williamson also improved as the year went on, and his performances began consistently reaching elevated heights in mid-February. For example, in a 25-game stretch from Feb. 12 through April 11, Williamson averaged 29.5 points on 63.3 percent shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He also had 21 games with at least 30 points, plus 14 double-doubles. The sky appears to be the limit for Williamson in 2021-22. He'll still be sharing a decent chunk of the offense with Brandon Ingram and new additions Devonte' Graham and Jonas Valanciunas, but the franchise's focus has to be on making sure Williamson is happy in his role. If he can marginally improve, especially as a free-throw shooter and defender, Williamson has clear second-to-third-round upside, which is likely where he'll be drafted. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Pelicans in July of 2019. Pelicans exercised $10.73 million team option for 2021-22 in December of 2020. Pelicans exercised $13.53 million team option for 2022-23 in October of 2021.
Personal Bio

Zion Lateef Williamson was born in 2000 in Salisbury, North Carolina. Zion's mother Sharonda ran track at Livingstone College, and his stepfather Lee Anderson played basketball at Clemson. Starting at the age of nine, Williamson woke up at 5am daily for basketball training. Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School, a small kindergarten through 12th grade private school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He could already dunk before the start of his high school freshman season. As a junior, Williamson averaged 36.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game and led Spartanburg Day to their second straight SCISA Region I-2A title. MaxPreps named Zion National Junior of the Year and also gave him High School All-American First Team honors. Williamson posted similar numbers his senior season and led the Griffins to their third straight title. After the season, he was named South Carolina Mr. Basketball and was runner-up for Mr. Basketball USA. After one season at Duke, Williamson declared for the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected with the first overall pick by the Pelicans. Zion enjoys writing poetry, listening to Jay-Z and watching Naruto. Fans can follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@zionwilliamson).

College/International Summary

Through a combination of jaw-dropping highlights and excellent production, Williamson owned the 2018-19 college basketball season. The 6-foot-7 forward joined R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish to give Duke the top recruiting class in the nation. Over the season, he averaged 22.6 points (on 68.0 percent shooting), 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks. He made his debut against Kentucky in the Champions Classic with 28 points and seven rebounds in the win. Williamson had 14 double-doubles, including a season-high 35 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to Syracuse. He missed the last six games of the regular season after suffering a Grade 1 knee sprain against North Carolina in which his shoe ripped. He returned for the ACC Tournament and averaged 27.0 points and 10.0 rebounds to help the Blue Devils take the championship. Duke advanced to the Elite Eight of The Big Dance and Williamson scored at least 23 points in each NCAA Tournament game. Among his many accolades were AP Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year, and the Naismith Award. After one season with Duke, Williamson declared for the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected with the first overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Going through individual work
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 18, 2021
Pelicans head coach Willie Green said Monday that Williamson (foot) has been limited to walk-throughs, warmups and 1-on-0 drills during recent practices, Will Guillory of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
Green noted that Williamson is progressing in his recovery from offseason foot surgery, but the 2019 No. 1 overall pick has yet to do any contact work. With Wednesday's regular-season opener approaching, Williamson remains without any sort of firm timetable, aside from executive vice president David Griffin saying Oct. 14 that the 21-year-old would be re-evaluated in two weeks. Fantasy managers shouldn't expect Williamson to play until November.
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Past Season Summaries
2020

Williamson's second season with the Pelicans proved to be a successful one, as the former Duke standout managed to improve his scoring ability along with his defense. The forward posted season averages of 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks in 33.2 minutes. Williamson played and started in 61 games, as he hit an impressive 61.1 percent from the field, 69.8 percent from the free-throw line and 29.4 percent from beyond the three-point arc. On the year, the 21-year-old scored double-digit points in every game and he even logged 14 double-doubles. One of Williamson's best performances of the season came on May 1 against the Timberwolves, where the forward sniffed a triple-double with 37 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, a steal and a block in a win. The forward recorded plenty of career-bests this season, as he set a career-high 39 points (against Denver on March 26), 15 rebounds (against Philadelphia on April 9) and eight assists (against Philadelphia on April 9). The former first overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft played well defensively, especially on Dec. 27 against the Spurs, where Williamson ended with five steals and a block in 38 minutes. Williamson showcased his offensive rebounding ability throughout the season, finishing the season with 44 games with at least two offensive boards. The second-year rising star led his team in points (27.0) and finished third in rebounds (7.2). Overall, Williamson established himself as an elite scorer in the league this season, with 21 games scoring 30 or more points.

2019

In the summer of 2019, Zion Williamson joined the New Orleans Pelicans via the first overall draft pick. After recovering from a torn meniscus, Williamson made his highly-anticipated rookie debut on Jan. 22 against the Spurs. The No. 1 pick was excellent. He recorded 22 points (8-11 FG, 4-4 3Pt, 2-4 FT), seven rebounds and three assists. Two games later, against Boston, the Duke product had his first of two double-digit rebounding efforts, grabbing a career-high 11 boards (seven offensive), plus 21 points (9-16 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 3-8 FT), two assists and one steal. On Feb. 2, Williamson had his second double-digit rebounding game, totaling 10 boards (five offensive) in addition to 21 points (8-14 FG, 5-7 FT), one assist, one steal and one block. The 6-foot-6 forward posted his first 30-point game Feb. 11 against the Trail Blazers, recording 31 points (10-17 FG, 0-1 3Pt, 11-14 FT), nine rebounds, five assists and one steal in 28 minutes. Williamson scored a career-high 35 points (12-16 FG, 11-13 FT) against the Lakers on Mar. 1, plus had seven rebounds. Before the league went on hiatus due to COVID-19, the rookie averaged 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 29.7 minutes per game. When the season resumed July 30 in the Orlando bubble, the Pelicans were one of 22 teams invited to participate. Appearing in five of a possible eight seeding games, Williamson averaged 18.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 20.7 minutes. His best performance in the bubble was Aug. 6 against the Kings, where Williamson recorded 24 points (10-12 FG, 4-7 FT), two rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes. For the season, Williamson appeared and started in 24 of a possible 72 games. In September, Williamson was named to the First Team All-Rookie squad.

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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
Due to a torn meniscus suffered in the preseason, Williamson's rookie debut was delayed until Jan. 22 against the Spurs. He had a fantastic performance, posting 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in just 18 minutes. He saw under 30 minutes for the next four performances, but still averaged 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists. For the final 14 games before the hiatus of the season, Williamson saw 31.4 minutes per game and averaged 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals. Early in the bubble, Williamson was underwhelming but saved it towards the end by averaging 24.0 points in 24.7 minutes in his final three appearances. As impressive as his rookie campaign was, it didn't translate the same to fantasy. On a per-game basis in eight-category leagues, Williamson ranked just 91st, making strong contributions in points (22.5) and field-goal percentage (58.3), but failing to stand out elsewhere. He was especially harmful in free-throw percentage, taking 7.4 attempts per game but making just 64.0 percent. That said, if Williamson can make marginal improvements across the board while also playing minutes closer to the mid-30s, he should be able to boost his fantasy stock significantly, despite obvious flaws in his game.
The Pelicans took no chances during the 2019 NBA Draft, selecting Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick. Williamson enters the league as one of the most-hyped prospects in recent memory -- possibly going as far back as LeBron James in 2003. The Duke one-and-done averaged 22.6 points on an absurd 68.0 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.8 blocks in 33 collegiate games. Williamson will be the focal point of the Pelicans' mini-rebuild in the aftermath of trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Williamson is a virtual lock to start from Day 1, though what his true position is at the NBA level remains somewhat of a mystery. At 285 pounds, Williamson has the bulk to play center, but his 6-foot-7 frame suggests he's more of a forward. Complicating things further, Williamson's jumpshot is a clear work in progress, and the Pelicans may have to work to put four floor-spacers around him at all times. What we do know is that he has the potential to be one of the best athletes we've ever seen on the hardwood, and there should be no shortage of gravity-defying dunks, blocks and rebounds. From a fantasy perspective, counting on the rookie to have a high floor as a rebounder, defender and efficient inside scorer seems safe. The other things -- volume scoring, passing, three-point shooting, free-throw percentage -- are cloudy.
More Fantasy News
No timetable to return
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 14, 2021
Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin said Thursday that Williamson (foot) will be reevaluated by doctors in two weeks and doesn't yet have a timetable to return, Will Guillory of The Athletic reports.
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Option exercised
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 13, 2021
Williamson (foot) had his fourth-year option exercised by the Pelicans on Wednesday.
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Sent for scans
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 11, 2021
Williamson will have some scans taken within the next few days before the Pelicans determine the next steps in his rehabilitation from offseason surgery to repair a fractured right foot, Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com reports.
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Listed out for preseason finale
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 10, 2021
Williamson (foot) is listed as out for Monday's preseason game against the Jazz.
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Will miss another preseason game
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 8, 2021
Williamson (foot) will not play in Friday's preseason game against the Bulls.
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