Zion Williamson looks ready for the season.
Let’s not read too much into it, this was just a preseason game against a Milwaukee team sitting Giannis Antetokounmpo, but still the explosiveness of Zion going to the rim — and his ability to finish — was turning heads on Friday night as he scored 31 points on 12-of-22 shooting, with nine rebounds.
Two big keys for Zion in this game: He played 33 minutes — Stan Van Gundy has given him a regular season load in the preseason and he has held up. The other key, he got to the line and was 7-of-11 on free throws (he shot 64% a year ago).
The Pelicans need this Zion all season. New Orleans has questions about if they have enough shooting and defense to make the playoffs in a deep West; for them to do so Zion and Brandon Ingram need to take a step forward. Against the Bucks Friday, Williamson looked healthy and like a player ready to make that leap.
In a few days Zion will get the chance to prove his improved play is not just a preseason thing.