Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson viral alley oop takes center stage on Day 2 of Pelicans training camp

by Jim Eichenhofer

There are countless storylines surrounding the revamped 2019-20 New Orleans Pelicans – many of which do not specifically involve No. 1 pick Zion Williamson – but only a few minutes after media members were allowed to watch the end of practice Wednesday, the high-flying rookie threw down an absurd dunk off an inbound pass by Lonzo Ball. Just like that, the lead item for every written account of Day 2 of Pelicans training camp, as well as the top highlight for local TV sports broadcasts, was determined.

“That wasn’t the best pass, but you saw what he did with it,” Ball said to media members, referencing that Williamson actually caught the feed off the backboard, then quickly slammed it. “It’s really hard to throw him a bad lob.”

“I’ve seen pretty much everything from him (already),” forward Brandon Ingram said, smiling. “I don’t think anything more is going to amaze me, unless he puts it between his legs twice (and dunks it).”

“You guys saw that?” guard Frank Jackson asked the media. “Honestly, you’re shocked for a second (when you see a play like that), but then you’re like, ‘Oh, it’s Zion.’ We’re used to it. I’ve seen it. He’s an incredible athlete – I mean, that (pass) hit the backboard, he caught it, and then he dunked it. What? Come on man, that’s not fair.”

Asked whom he would compare Williamson to, based on the fellow Duke University product’s combination of athleticism and size, Jackson said, “He’s one of one. So watch out. Keep watching."

“You know what, he’s so physical and strong, his presence on the court alone does a lot,” Jackson added. “He’s so skillful too already. I told him you’re going to be great. Just take your time and use that big body of yours.”

While much of the media and fan attention this week will probably be on Williamson – as well as even from teammates – Alvin Gentry complimented a couple other Pelicans as well for their play through the first two days of training camp.

“(Willliamson) has a lot of moments like (his dunk), but there are other guys who do, too,” Gentry said. “Nico Melli – I don’t know if he missed a shot today. I think Josh Gray has played well. Obviously Zion has the ability to make the ‘ooh, aah’ plays. He’ll make a few of them every practice.”

Another topic Wednesday was Ball’s passing and how it fits with New Orleans’ style of play. Gentry noted, “I just think Lonzo is a very good passer. He can put the ball where anybody wants it to be. He and Jrue (Holiday) have good chemistry, also, as far as pitching (the ball) ahead. We’re trying to be a fast-paced team. He’s very good at getting the ball to people, reading the defense and finding open guys.”

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