A year ago the only media coverage Zion Williamson could get was negative coverage. Questions over his motivation to rejoin his New Orleans Pelicans teammates along with inquiries about his rehab from injuries and what his eating habits were while away from the game. Photos and videos of Zion seemed to indicate that his weight was still an issue. The same weight that many feel is leading to his injuries.
Fast forward to today. Zion is currently in the running for MVP. His Pelicans are in first place in the Western Division.
Over his last seven games, Williamson is averaging 30.0 points, 9.1 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.1 blocks. Most importantly, the Pelicans have won all of those games.
His primary competition for MVP honors include Luke Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo. They may have Zion statistically, but the Pelicans keep winning. The success and improvement come from the return of Williamson. Common sense tells you Zion is very valuable to his team. More often than not, the MVP goes to the best player on the best team. Right now, that is Zion of the Pelicans.
I cannot think of a reason, other than an injury to Williamson, why the Pelicans will not stay on top in the West. New Orleans has loads of firepower in its starting five. CJ McCollum had averaged at least 20 points in each of his seven seasons prior to this one. Brandon Ingram is now working on his own four-year streak with a 20-plus scoring average. Center Jonas Valanciunas has quietly averaged 15.4 points a game since the start of the 2017-18 season.
Here is a great ‘Did You Know’ question. Did you know that Zion is one of the most prolific volume scorers in NBA history. Only Joel Embiid (30.4), Michael Jordan (30.3) and Doncic (29.1) are the only players with a higher average than Zion’s 28.6 points per 75 possessions.
History tells us NBA Championship teams must have a top-ten player in the league to win a title. During his breakout 2020-21 season, Zion looked like he could be that level of player. During 2021-22, he had to watch his teammates from the beginning of the campaign to the painful end. That experience clearly impacted him, and he now appears to be on a mission.