NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo Has Advice For Zion Williamson
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo has some words of wisdom for New Orleans Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson.
The Greek Freak knows plenty about dealing with hype and limitless potential. He's lived it.
"Don't rush the process," said Antetokounmpo when asked today how he would advise Williamson. "You're going to be a beast, the whole league knows you're going to be a beast. Just take it step by step, day by day."
Williamson made his regular-season NBA debut last night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans in front of a nationally televised audience.
On a minute restriction, Williamson started each quarter before exiting around halfway through.
Through the first 3 quarters, he was passive, turned the ball over a few times and was trying to find his way.
In the 4th quarter, he exploded for 17 points in a 3:08 span, briefly giving New Orleans a 1 point lead in a game they largely trailed in, before hitting his playing limit and being forced to the bench for the final half of the 4th.
While he desperately wanted to stay in the game, as did his coach Alvin Gentry, both will err on the side of caution, listen to the medical staff, and focus on the long-term as opposed to single games.
Antetokounmpo's message of "Don't rush the process" is befitting for any young star oozing with other worldly talent, but it's particularly apropos for Zion, who went through more extensive rehab than expected following his knee surgery before the season.
New Orleans wants to protect their most valuable investment.
"Obviously he's a tough kid. My advice that I give to him: Just have patience, work hard and make sure you're healthy," Antetokounmpo added. "Because I saw some highlights and saw he was wearing a sleeve on his knee that was hurting. Don't rush, don't rush the process."
Game #2 for Williamson is scheduled for tomorrow night at the SKC in NOLA. Tip-off is set for 7:00.