Zion Williamson ‘really excited to get back’ next season for Pelicans - bdsthanhhoavn.com

Zion Williamson ‘really excited to get back’ next season for Pelicans

Zion Williamson has not been in front of his TV watching each possession of the 2022 NBA Finals, which is understandable. For the 21-year-old, it’s unlikely that any aspect of postseason basketball will be able to match what he witnessed first-hand over a two-week span in late April.

While hosting a basketball camp for youngsters Saturday at the historic Dryades YMCA in New Orleans, the 2021 All-Star forward explained that the first-round playoff series between the Pelicans and Phoenix Suns was more than enough to push his excitement for 2022-23 to another level.

“The Pels in the first round was all I needed to see,” Williamson said of Phoenix’s hard-fought 4-2 series victory. “(It was) all I needed to see to really be excited to get back out there.”

Williamson wasted no time beginning his preparations for next season, immediately working out at the team’s practice facility in Metairie on a regular basis. Though what will be his third NBA campaign won’t tip off for another four-plus months, he already sounds like he’s eager to get started. Williamson was cleared to play with no restrictions May 26.

Asked Saturday about his reaction to being 100 percent following his rehabilitation process, Williamson said, “I think anyone would tell you, whether they play sports or not, it’s amazing. It was a long year for me of rehab and mental battles. But I’m fine now and ready to get back to work.”

As one of New Orleans’ numerous under-25 players who comprise a promising foundation for the future, Williamson enjoyed watching Pelicans rookies Jose Alvarado, Trey Murphy III and Herbert Jones flourish during the 2022 postseason, as well as a breakout second half of the regular season by Jaxson Hayes, who turned 22 in May. Brandon Ingram was the best player on the floor at times vs. Phoenix during his NBA playoff debut, while veteran guard CJ McCollum proved to be one of the league’s most important trade-deadline additions.

“It was exciting, seeing young players (including) Jose, Trey, Herb, Jaxson just blossoming into players I knew they could be, and they knew they could be,” Williamson said. “Watching B.I. (perform at a high level) and CJ being added, it was something to watch. And the fans made it so much better (in the postseason).”

As was the case for numerous teammates in 2022, Williamson will have an opportunity to make his NBA playoff debut in ’23. He smiled widely several times Saturday when he was discussed his plan for the rest of the summer.

“(I’m going to be) working out,” he said. “Getting myself ready for my teammates and the city.”

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