Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson

21-Year-Old ForwardF
New Orleans Pelicans
Out
Injury Foot
Est. Return 12/10/2021
2021 Fantasy Outlook
After a brief-but-impressive rookie campaign, Williamson improved enough as a sophomore to make his first All-Star team. The 2019 No. 1 overall pick averaged 27.0 points on an absurd 61.1 percent shooting while tallying 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 33.2 minutes. That resulted in him ranking 50th in fantasy on a per-game basis. There are still clear holes in Williamson's game -- including his poor free-throw shooting (69.8 percent on 8.7 attempts), subpar defense (0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks) and a lack of a three-point shot (0.2 makes on 29.4 percent) -- but he's so dominant as a scorer that those weaknesses aren't holding him down much. Maybe the biggest indicator of how unstoppable he can be is that he was fouled on 22.5 percent of his shot attempts -- the third-highest number last season of players who saw at least 1,000 minutes and notably above Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. Williamson also improved as the year went on, and his performances began consistently reaching elevated heights in mid-February. For example, in a 25-game stretch from Feb. 12 through April 11, Williamson averaged 29.5 points on 63.3 percent shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists. He also had 21 games with at least 30 points, plus 14 double-doubles. The sky appears to be the limit for Williamson in 2021-22. He'll still be sharing a decent chunk of the offense with Brandon Ingram and new additions Devonte' Graham and Jonas Valanciunas, but the franchise's focus has to be on making sure Williamson is happy in his role. If he can marginally improve, especially as a free-throw shooter and defender, Williamson has clear second-to-third-round upside, which is likely where he'll be drafted. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Pelicans in July of 2019. Pelicans exercised $10.73 million team option for 2021-22 in December of 2020. Pelicans exercised $13.53 million team option for 2022-23 in October of 2021.
Personal Bio/PreCareer Summary

Zion Lateef Williamson was born in 2000 in Salisbury, North Carolina. Zion's mother Sharonda ran track at Livingstone College, and his stepfather Lee Anderson played basketball at Clemson. Starting at the age of nine, Williamson woke up at 5am daily for basketball training. Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School, a small kindergarten through 12th grade private school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He could already dunk before the start of his high school freshman season. As a junior, Williamson averaged 36.8 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals, and 2.5 blocks per game and led Spartanburg Day to their second straight SCISA Region I-2A title. MaxPreps named Zion National Junior of the Year and also gave him High School All-American First Team honors. Williamson posted similar numbers his senior season and led the Griffins to their third straight title. After the season, he was named South Carolina Mr. Basketball and was runner-up for Mr. Basketball USA. After one season at Duke, Williamson declared for the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected with the first overall pick by the Pelicans. Zion enjoys writing poetry, listening to Jay-Z and watching Naruto. Fans can follow him on Twitter and Instagram (@zionwilliamson). Through a combination of jaw-dropping highlights and excellent production, Williamson owned the 2018-19 college basketball season. The 6-foot-7 forward joined R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish to give Duke the top recruiting class in the nation. Over the season, he averaged 22.6 points (on 68.0 percent shooting), 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks. He made his debut against Kentucky in the Champions Classic with 28 points and seven rebounds in the win. Williamson had 14 double-doubles, including a season-high 35 points and 10 rebounds in a loss to Syracuse. He missed the last six games of the regular season after suffering a Grade 1 knee sprain against North Carolina in which his shoe ripped. He returned for the ACC Tournament and averaged 27.0 points and 10.0 rebounds to help the Blue Devils take the championship. Duke advanced to the Elite Eight of The Big Dance and Williamson scored at least 23 points in each NCAA Tournament game. Among his many accolades were AP Player of the Year, ACC Player of the Year, and the Naismith Award. After one season with Duke, Williamson declared for the 2019 NBA Draft and was selected with the first overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Cleared to practice in full
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
November 26, 2021
Williamson (foot) was cleared Friday to begin practicing in full, Andrew Lopez of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
This is excellent news for Williamson, the Pelicans and fantasy managers, who have all gotten less-than-positive news through much of the star big man's recovery. Lopez notes that the Pelicans aren't expected to have a full practice until Dec. 2, so that will presumably be Williamson's first dive back into simulated game action. A timetable for his return is still not established, but it seems fair to assume he'll return sometime in December.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
Due to a torn meniscus suffered in the preseason, Williamson's rookie debut was delayed until Jan. 22 against the Spurs. He had a fantastic performance, posting 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in just 18 minutes. He saw under 30 minutes for the next four performances, but still averaged 18.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists. For the final 14 games before the hiatus of the season, Williamson saw 31.4 minutes per game and averaged 18.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steals. Early in the bubble, Williamson was underwhelming but saved it towards the end by averaging 24.0 points in 24.7 minutes in his final three appearances. As impressive as his rookie campaign was, it didn't translate the same to fantasy. On a per-game basis in eight-category leagues, Williamson ranked just 91st, making strong contributions in points (22.5) and field-goal percentage (58.3), but failing to stand out elsewhere. He was especially harmful in free-throw percentage, taking 7.4 attempts per game but making just 64.0 percent. That said, if Williamson can make marginal improvements across the board while also playing minutes closer to the mid-30s, he should be able to boost his fantasy stock significantly, despite obvious flaws in his game.
The Pelicans took no chances during the 2019 NBA Draft, selecting Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick. Williamson enters the league as one of the most-hyped prospects in recent memory -- possibly going as far back as LeBron James in 2003. The Duke one-and-done averaged 22.6 points on an absurd 68.0 percent shooting, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1.8 blocks in 33 collegiate games. Williamson will be the focal point of the Pelicans' mini-rebuild in the aftermath of trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers. Williamson is a virtual lock to start from Day 1, though what his true position is at the NBA level remains somewhat of a mystery. At 285 pounds, Williamson has the bulk to play center, but his 6-foot-7 frame suggests he's more of a forward. Complicating things further, Williamson's jumpshot is a clear work in progress, and the Pelicans may have to work to put four floor-spacers around him at all times. What we do know is that he has the potential to be one of the best athletes we've ever seen on the hardwood, and there should be no shortage of gravity-defying dunks, blocks and rebounds. From a fantasy perspective, counting on the rookie to have a high floor as a rebounder, defender and efficient inside scorer seems safe. The other things -- volume scoring, passing, three-point shooting, free-throw percentage -- are cloudy.
More Fantasy News
Going 3-on-3, scan results pending
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
November 24, 2021
Williamson (foot) has progressed to taking part in 3-on-3 scrimmaging, and his latest round of scans should be evaluated by a specialist within the next few days, Christian Clark of The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
ANALYSIS
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Cleared for contact, 1-on-1 work
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
November 16, 2021
Williamson (foot) has been cleared to take part in contact drills, including 1-on-1 workouts, Andrew Lopez of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
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Still weeks away
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
November 13, 2021
Williamson (foot) is believed to still be several weeks away from returning to game action, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports.
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Out at least another 2-to-3 weeks
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
November 1, 2021
Williamson (foot) is progressing in his recovery but will remain sidelined for at least another 2-to-3 weeks, Andrew Lopez of ESPN reports. "He is progressing to do on-the-court work," coach Willie Green said Monday. "Still not 5-on-5 competitively yet. He's cutting. He's doing explosive work. He's getting closer and closer."
ANALYSIS
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Foot scans will dictate progression
FNew Orleans Pelicans
Foot
October 27, 2021
Williamson (foot) is expected to have scans done by the end of the week, which will determine the next steps in his recovery process, Cassidy Hubbarth of ESPN reports.
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