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Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

Pelicans' star rookie Zion Williamson out vs. Wizards

The Wizards will have to wait until next year to face Zion Williamson for the first time.

The Pelicans' star rookie will sit out on Friday night as the Wizards face New Orleans at 8 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Williamson is resting on the second night of a back-to-back. The Pelicans played the Kings on Thursday night.

The Wizards also missed Williamson last July in the Summer League after he suffered a knee injury in his first game in Las Vegas. They also had one of their games this season against the Pelicans cancelled due to the NBA's long hiatus because of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Someday, the Wizards will see Williamson and when they do, it will be interesting to watch him match up with Rui Hachimura, who was in the same draft class and plays the same position. Williamson was the No. 1 overall pick and Hachimura was picked ninth.

RELATED: HOW YOUNG PHENOMS HAVE FARED AGAINST WIZARDS

For now, the Wizards will battle a Pelicans team headlined by Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

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With Zion Williamson next, a look at NBA phenoms' first games against the Wizards

With Zion Williamson next, a look at NBA phenoms' first games against the Wizards

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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How Zion Williamson affects Rui Hachimura's case for NBA All-Rookie

How Zion Williamson affects Rui Hachimura's case for NBA All-Rookie

NBA writers and media members around the country have been mulling over their picks for the NBA's postseason awards for about a week now. The ballots are due today, on Tuesday, July 28, which means it is judgement time for Wizards forward Rui Hachimura, who should have a very good chance of making All-Rookie.

Here are some things to keep in mind as the votes are cast...

It's all based on before March 11

The reasons why votes are being sent in now and not after the season is because postseason NBA awards this year are all based on what happened before the league shut down in March due to the coronavirus. Hachimura and his fellow rookies can't do anything to help or hurt their cause in Orlando. 

The good news is Hachimura has already made a good case for himself. He put up averages of 13.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game all while shooting 47.8 percent from the field. His consistency has perhaps stood out the most. Hachimura has 22 games of 10-plus points and five-plus rebounds. Only five rookies this have done that more this season.

Zion could affect Rui's chances

Hachimura would be much more of a lock if it weren't for the late push by Pelicans rookie and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. Though he only played 19 games due to injury, Williamson was a sensation, averaging a ridiculous 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 29.7 minutes. He also plays Hachimura's position, so there is a chance he takes a spot that otherwise could have gone to Hachimura.

The four guards for All-Rookie seem likely to be Ja Morant of the Grizzlies, Coby White of the Bulls, plus Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn of the Heat. Maybe Matisse Thybulle of the Sixers has something to say about that. For the frontcourt, the favorites are probably Brandon Clarke of the Grizzlies, P.J. Washington of the Hornets and Jaxson Hayes of the Pelicans. That leaves three spots between Hachimura, Williamson, Eric Paschall of the Warriors, R.J. Barrett of the Knicks and De'Andre Hunter of the Hawks. 

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All-Rookie is a rarity for Wizards

Based on where Hachimura was picked, it wouldn't exactly shatter expectations if he was chosen for All-Rookie. With two teams of five, it represents the 10-best players in the class. Hachimura was picked ninth.

But it is not all that often you see a Wizards player find this level of success this early in their careers. Hachimura would be the first All-Rookie player representing Washington since Bradley Beal in 2013. Beal and Wall (2011) are the only two All-Rookie Wizards players since 2004.

Hachimura's best comparisons

Whether Hachimura gets All-Rookie or not, his numbers this season compare favorably to others who have received the honors in the past. His points and rebounds averages, combined with his field goal percentage, stack up well will some guys who have been first-team All-Rookie in recent years. Here are a few comparisons:

Rui Hachimura, 2019-20 - 13.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 47.8 FG%
Jaren Jackson Jr., 2018-19 - 13.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 50.6 FG%
Jayson Tatum, 2017-18 - 13.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 47.5 FG%
Dario Saric, 2016-17 - 12.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 41.1 FG%
Devin Booker, 2015-16 - 13.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 42.3 FG%

Some of these guys are different types of players, but the fact those numbers got them first-team honors should help Hachimura's chances of making the cut.

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