Sportress of Blogitude

Zion Williamson eyeing potential playoff berth, not ROY award

Zion Williamson has put the NBA on notice that he deserves being heralded as the league’s latest generational talent, but the New Orleans Pelicans superstar is keeping his eye on the prize from a team perspective while eschewing a desire for individual awards and accolades.

The 19-year-old phenom recently sat down for an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN. During the chat, Williamson laid out his goals for a rookie season in which his debut was delayed by injury, remains one with potential promise for the Pelicans.

“Honestly, I’m just tryna get a playoff spot for my team,” Williamson told Nichols. “If I win [ROY], it’s nice, but if not, it’s fine.”

The Pelicans are not in the best of positions for Williamson’s quest for a postseason berth. At 23-32, New Orleans is currently slotted 11th in the Western Conference and sits 5.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies.

Williamson is now 10 games into to his rookie season, and he’s averaging an impressive 22.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game. A deeper dive into his stats showcases the rarified air he’s entered when it comes to NBA history.

Despite Williamson putting up incredible numbers — and impressing his fellow NBA players along the way — the Pelicans have posted a pedestrian 6-4 record since he made his long-awaited debut after sitting out the team’s first 45 games due to a torn meniscus.

The Pelicans obviously face a daunting task in climbing back into playoff contention in the West. While Williamson also faces long odds of usurping Memphis Grizzlies phenom Ja Maront as Rookie of the Year favorite, leading the Pelicans into the playoffs will be a far more difficult goal to achieve.