New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson reached a major milestone against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, as he played in his 100th career NBA game. Williamson has had an interesting start to his career. He entered the league as one of the most highly-hyped prospects in recent memory, and when he has been out on the floor for New Orleans. The 2,524 career points he has scored so far are the most in a player's first 100 games since Michael Jordan.
However, he's also been plagued by injury issues. Williamson played in just 24 games during his rookie campaign due to knee surgery, and he missed the entirety of last season because of a foot injury. This is why it took him until a month into his fourth season to hit the 100-game mark. After the Pelicans' 105-101 win over Oklahoma City, Williamson reflected on his career to this point, what reaching triple digits in games played means to him and why he's optimistic for the future with in New Orleans.
"I didn't even think about it," Williamson said of hitting 100 games, via Nola.com. "But that is a big milestone. I'm on three coaches. This is the first year the locker room has looked somewhat the same players-wise. The thing I can take away from that is it's just good to have steady people around me now.
"We have a special team," he added. "We have a lot of great players on this team."
While Williamson would have preferred to have a completely healthy start to his career, he thinks the adversity he has faced already has helped him grow, both on and off of the court.
"It's been a long journey," Williamson said. "Would I have liked the journey to have gone like that? Absolutely not. I wish I could have played every game. At the end of the day, I'm still grateful I went through that. It helped me realize a lot mentally, spiritually and just growing as a man."
Williamson has quickly blossomed into one of the most electric and exciting players to watch in the entire NBA, and the Pelicans also appear to be trending in the right direction. After making it to the playoffs without Williamson last season, the team will look to take another step forward this season, and things have been going well so far. Twenty games into the season, the Pelicans sit third in the Western Conference with a 12-8 record. So, as long as Williamson can remain healthy and out on the court, there's real real for optimism in New Orleans.