- Zion Williamson finally makes his NBA debut after having been out the entire season following knee surgery
- The former Duke standout appeared in four preseason games, averaging 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds per game
- Despite losing a franchise-record 13 straight games earlier this season, New Orleans has 11 wins in its last 16 games
After an agonizingly long wait, Zion Williamson will finally make his NBA debut on Wednesday night when the San Antonio Spurs visit the New Orleans Pelicans.
The much-hyped star was seemingly the answer to New Orleans’s basketball prayers when he was taken first overall last June – just days after the team had agreed to trade all-star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. But having October surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee put a dampener on that.
Fans will get to see what all the hype was about on Wednesday, and the San Antonio vs New Orleans odds certainly favor Williamson’s team getting his NBA career off to a winning start.
San Antonio Spurs vs New Orleans Pelicans Odds
|Team||Spread||Moneyline||Total at Bovada|
|San Antonio Spurs||+3.5 (-105)||+145||O 237.0 (-105)|
|New Orleans Pelicans||-3.5 (-115)||-165||U 237.0 (-115)|
Odds taken January 22nd
The 19-year-old Williamson has a lot to live up to as he takes his NBA bow on Wednesday night.
He has been called the greatest talent since LeBron James by some experts, after dominating during his one season at Duke University, where he earned AP Player of the Year and Sporting News College Player of the Year honors.
The 6-foot-6, 284-pound forward averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game before going on to be the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s NBA draft.
Team On the Rise
Thankfully, Williamson doesn’t have to put his new team on his back as he starts to find his way in the NBA game. While he could only look on helplessly as the Pelicans started the season 1-7 and went on a franchise-record 13-game losing streak at one point, New Orleans seems to have turned things around.
Every single one of the Pelicans' franchise-record 2️⃣1️⃣ threes in Memphis last night, for your viewing pleasure. pic.twitter.com/ZlSMMY0Izq
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) January 21, 2020
The team has won 11 of its last 16 games, and after Monday’s 126-116 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, now sits just 3.5 games back of the Grizzlies for the eighth and last playoff spot in the Western Conference with 38 games still to play.
Part of the reason for the Pelicans’ turnaround has been the play of Brandon Ingram, one of the players New Orleans acquired in the Davis trade to LA.
Like Williamson, Ingram also went to Duke, and the forward has been averaging 25.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.4 assists a game this season in helping drag the 17-27 Pelicans back into the playoff picture.
BRANDON. INGRAM. CLUTCH.
Career-high 44 PTS and the game-winner. Wow. pic.twitter.com/jlDM1KKKyo
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 17, 2020
Another former Laker, Lonzo Ball, has also started to flourish with a fresh start, with the point guard averaging 12.1 points and a team-high 6.3 assists per game in New Orleans.
Another team on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, the San Antonio Spurs are a half game back of Memphis for the final playoff berth in the West.
After bouncing back from consecutive defeats to Miami and Atlanta, San Antonio has won two straight against the Heat and Phoenix, and will aim to make it three straight on Wednesday night.
back 2️⃣ back games, back 2️⃣ back wins
highlights from Phoenix 🎥 pic.twitter.com/kxk6D9ItyG
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) January 21, 2020
They will do so largely based around their offense, which is averaging 113.7 points per game this season, led by DeMar DeRozan, who is averaging 22.5 points per game. However, much like New Orleans, there is much work to do on the defensive end.
San Antonio is giving up an average of 114.7 PPG this season, in comparison to the Pelicans’ 117.6. But with New Orleans averaging 114.4 PPG, putting both teams’ offenses in the top six in the West, this game seems likely to produce offensive fireworks if nothing else.
Pick: New Orleans ML (-165)
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