PARIS (Reuters) – Zion Williamson’s highly-anticipated NBA debut caught the eye on Wednesday, but the league’s MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is advising the teenager not to rush it if he is to reach and stay at the top.
Forward Williamson, 19, picked up a knee injury during the pre-season in October and could only make his debut in the New Orleans Pelicans’s 121-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 22 points to which he added seven rebounds and three assists.
The former Duke University player scored an astonishing 17 points in under three-and-a-half minutes in the fourth quarter, justifying the hype around him.
“I watched the highlights and I saw that he scored like 17 points in four minutes. I’m excited for him,” Antetokounmpo, who will take on the Charlotte Hornets with the Milwaukee Bucks in a regular season game in Paris on Friday, told a news conference.
“I know he wants to be out there. Obviously he’s a tough kid. The advice I would give him is have patience, work hard, and mature your health.
“(Last night) obviously his knee was hurting, so don’t rush it, don’t rush it,” he said. “Just take it step by step, day by day and be healthy.”
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Franklin Paul)