The Wizards are expected to get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson on Friday night as they battle the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. This should be their first glimpse of the phenom in any type of game, though they were supposed to see him last summer in Las Vegas, if you recall. Williamson hurt his knee in a previous Summer League game that was famously cancelled due to an earthquake.
There was anticipation then and there is plenty of it now, as Williamson has since become a sensation in the NBA. Though he has only played in 23 games, he has already done some extraordinary things. Williamson is averaging 22.4 points and 6.2 rebounds in just 27.9 minutes.
Against the Kings on Thursday night, Williams had 24 points on 12 shots in 21 minutes. His efficiency is not the type of stuff you see often, especially for a rookie.
And those are just the numbers. Anyone who has watched him play can attest to the unusual athletic gifts that he has.
"Explosive. Just dynamic," Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. "His athleticism is off the charts. His second jump is as good as everybody's first jump. He's a quick jumper. He's going to be a problem. He's going to be a problem for a lot of years. It's impressive what he's done in the limited minutes that he's played here."
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Williamson may be one of a kind with his strength, first step and leaping ability, but he's just the latest in a long line of star prospects to reach the NBA level. As he gets set to face the Wizards, here is a look at how some other rookie phenoms have fared in their first games against the franchise...
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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (MIL) - Nov. 9, 1969
24 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists, 10-22 FG, 48 minutes; Bullets won by 11
Larry Bird (BOS) - Oct. 19, 1979
12 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, 6-14 FG, 22 minutes; Celtics won by 37
Magic Johnson (LAL) - Jan. 9, 1980
14 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, block, steal, 4-6 FG, 26 minutes; Bullets won by 2
Michael Jordan (CHI) - Oct. 26, 1984 (NBA debut)
16 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 steals, 5-16 FG, 40 minutes; Bulls won by 16
Shaquille O'Neal (ORL) - Nov. 7, 1992
22 points, 15 rebounds, 4 blocks, 8-16 FG, 40 minutes; Magic won by 5
Allen Iverson (PHI) - March 4, 1997
18 points, 13 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 steals, 7-20 FG, 45 minutes; Bullets won by 1
Tim Duncan (SAS) - Nov. 26, 1997
18 points, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks, 5 turnovers, 9-15 FG, 41 minutes; Wizards won by 4
LeBron James (CLE) - Nov. 8, 2003
17 points, 9 assists, 8 rebounds, steal, block, 8-19 FG, 44 minutes; Cavs won by 13
Kevin Durant (SEA) - Jan. 6, 2008
19 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 7-12 FG, 35 minutes; Wizards won by 22
Derrick Rose (CHI) - Dec. 6, 2008
15 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 6-12 FG, 37 minutes; Bulls won by 7
Blake Griffin (LAC) - March 12, 2011
26 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 8-17 FG, 30 minutes; Clippers won by 21
Luka Doncic (DAL) - Nov. 6, 2018
23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, steal, 9-16 FG, 33 minutes; Mavericks won by 19
Ja Morant (MEM) - Dec. 14, 2019
18 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals, block, 5-11 FG, 28 minutes; Grizzlies won by 17
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