Zion Williamson has been cleared in his return to play progression, according to reports, and the forward is eyeing a 2022-2023 comeback.
The New Orleans Pelicans’ first overall pick in 2019 has not played since 2021 after a fractured foot cost him the entire season this past year. The All-Star has played in just 85 games over the last three seasons and has yet to play in a playoff game.
While the lack of playing time can be concerning to some, Williamson’s production since being drafted out of Duke has been incredible.
In the 85 games he has played, Williamson has averaged 25.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting an efficient 60% from the field.
When last on the court, Williamson tied Shaquille O’Neil’s record for the longest streak of at least 20-point games on 50-percent shooting within his first two seasons.
Williamson is entering the final year of his rookie contract which allows him to be eligible to receive a rookie extension of five years and close to $186 million for a new deal with New Orleans.
Williamson has been quick to respond to the contract rumors saying he will take the rookie extension contract New Orleans would give him.
For the Pelicans, they get back their best overall player after a season of making the NBA Playoffs through the Play-In Tournament and losing the first seeded Phoenix Suns in six games.
With Zion joining key pieces like Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, the Pelicans are expected to be much improved in the 2022-2023 season.