The outcome of the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft played out exactly as it was expected to. The New Orleans Pelicans used the top selection to pick Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson, and although the incredibly talented forward surely knew it was coming, he was still emotional.
Beyond being emotional over the fact that he was selected No. 1, Zion broke down when asked about his mother and what she sacrificed for him, as SportsCenter revealed.
Zion spoke about those sacrifices while heaping incredible praise on his mother, and it was a great scene to watch.
“She put her dreams aside for mine. She always looked out for the family before herself.” an emotional Williamson stated.
Williamson’s mother proceeded to talk about how they’ve worked since he was just five years old to get to this point. She admitted to knowing it was coming and spoke about how happy she was to see all of her son’s hard work pay off.
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Zion Williamson’s Dominance at Duke
While Zion played just one season with the Blue Devils, he was exceptional during his time with the team. The 6-foot-7, 285 pound forward posted marks of 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. He boasts one of the most well-rounded games of any rookie entering the NBA in history.
Williamson did all of this damage while playing just 30.0 minutes per game, partially due to many early-season matchups in which he didn’t need to log big minutes. Beyond that, it’s worth noting that he suffered a knee injury on a play in which his foot infamously broke through his shoe. Zion missed the end of the regular season due to that injury but returned at the start of the ACC tournament.
Zion Williamson’s Immediate NBA Outlook
There’s little reason to believe that the 18-year-old won’t immediately be the favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award during the 2019-20 season. He has a talent which is rarely seen in a rookie entering the league and joins a Pelicans team which just traded star forward Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Zion will be the offensive focal point of a group which boasts quite a bit of talent, including Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart among others. He’s the definition of a plug-and-play draft pick, who’ll be a starter and able to log heavy minutes right out of the gate during his first NBA season.