Two of former teammates from Duke Blue Devils’ basketball team, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, faced one another last night in their professional debut. Las Vegas saw Zion appearing for one NBA team for the first time, which was the global news of the day until Kawhi and Paul George decided to head for LA.
Some might say that Williamson’s arrival to the best league in the world has been an earthquake. Well, last night those kinds of comments really came true.
The game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks has been interrupted because of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake which struck South California. The reason for such a decision was the fact that the overhead scoreboard was swinging, and the organizers didn’t want to risk spectators’ safety. The current result was 80-74 for the Pelicans with 7:53 until the end of the match.
The WNBA match between Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics has also been stopped.
This is the second big quake which hit the same area in just two days.
But nevertheless, the fans had the opportunity to see Zion, who didn’t spend too much time on the court. The sold-out Thomas & Mack Center was filled with superstars who came to watch one of the biggest talents in the history of the NBA debuting in the professional competition.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 6, 2019
Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry commented on that.
“Obviously, the guy we drafted put a buzz in the air for everybody in here,” he said.
You could see LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Floyd Mayweather, and many more notable faces. Sources are saying that the tickets went up to $500 for this game.
Zion played somewhat more than 9 minutes, scoring 11 points, with 3 boards, shooting 4 of 9 from the field and 3 for 6 from the free throw line. He had 10 points in the opening quarter, and also dunked several times, which set the crowd on fire.
But also, he was blocked twice by Mitchell Robinson from the Knicks, one coming while shooting for three points.
He would later go out because of a knee-to-knee hit with one NY player. According to Gentry and the Pelicans, there was no injury, but simply nobody wanted to take any risk in forcing Zion to play more.
Alley-oop ➡️ Block Zion ➡️ Fast break dunk
Mitchell Robinson takes no plays off pic.twitter.com/NOI3p9unl2
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 6, 2019
The Pelicans coach said that summer league presents a chance to see where Williamson stands at the moment compared to all the other NBA players. Therefore he isn’t willing to push him over the limit.
“We’re not going to do anything crazy with him,” Gentry said. “This gives you an opportunity to test out the speed of the game and things like that. That’s really all you learn from this.”
His former teammate RJ Barrett had 10 points in 25 minutes, with a poor shooting percentage, 4 of 18. The No.3 overall pick from this draft added 5 boards, but was awful from behind the arc, hitting just one three in 8 attempts. It is obvious that the Knicks team will be relying upon the Canadian guard a lot, as their management failed to land any notable superstar in New York.
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/qpEAlE5Hmv
— NBA (@NBA) July 6, 2019
Pelicans are playing again, this Saturday. Their next rivals are going to be Washington Wizards, and that game is sold-out too. Zion will be facing Rui Hachimura, the first Japanese picked up at one draft. The interest in Japan for this match in enormous, and that only made it more attractive.
It appears that all the previous records regarding the attendance and the global coverage of the NBA Summer League are going to be broken this summer.
Mostly because of Zion.