Zion Williamson lived up to the hype in his NBA debut, but the biggest story from last night is the fact that Alvin Gentry didn’t let the No. 1 overall pick finish the game. As you’d expect, the crowd in New Orleans wasn’t thrilled with that decision.
The Pelicans made it known that Williamson would be on a minutes restriction early in his career. And yet, almost every basketball fan in the world was disappointed that he wasn’t allowed to play most of the fourth quarter.
Williamson didn’t look too active during the first three quarters of the game. However, the former Duke star erupted in the final frame by scoring 17 points in a three-minute span.
After Williamson sent the crowd into a frenzy, the coaching staff made the decision to bench him. Gentry told the media that he was advised by the medical staff to take out the young phenom.
The timing of this decision was unfortunate for the Pelicans as Williamson nearly led an improbable comeback in the final minutes.
Williamson finished with 22 points in just 18 minutes worth of action.
Gentry said the Pelicans “medical people” told him to take Zion out of the game after his hot streak. Zion played 18 minutes.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) January 23, 2020
Most of the blame fell on Gentry’s shoulders since he’s the head coach. That being said, the reality is New Orleans wants to be extremely cautious with Williamson.
We’ll see if Williamson can build off his hot start when the Pelicans take on the Nuggets tomorrow.