Kevin Durant heaps praise on Zion Williamson ahead of season opener
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Kevin Durant has called Zion Williamson "one of one" ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans game. In their first game of the season, the Nets are hosting the Pelicans. Ahead of the Nets' season opener, Durant took a moment to acknowledge the unique talent and game Williamson possesses.
"You've seen guys at that size, 6-7, that can get up and down the floor and move, but not at that level, though. You've seen guys like Jason Maxiell, I'm not saying they jump as high as Zion, but they were undersized guys that played bigger.
And Zion's one of those guys. Rodney Rogers -- I'm missing so many guys that were that tall at 6-6, Charles Barkley bruiser-type guys but played bigger. But Zion's athleticism trumps all of theirs by far. And when you add that to the mix, it makes him a one of one," Durant said, per ESPN.
Durant on Williamson making his return
Williamson missed the entire last season due to a foot surgery. Now, Williamson is ready to play again. The Pelicans have a talented team, led by Williamson, Brandon Ingram, and CJ McCollum.
Durant, who will be going up against those three stars on Wednesday, acknowledged the talent the Pelicans have on the offensive side. "Excitement," Durant said of Williamson being back on the floor. "Athleticism. Somebody that can put up points pretty fast.
It's a matchup problem for a lot of people, so we got our work cut out [with] him, and then you got two other scorers behind him [in Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum] that can score from all levels. So we got our work cut out for us, but it's going to be exciting times when guys get healthy, especially the marquee guys in this league." Even though Williamson missed the Pelicans' preseason finale due to an ankle injury, Nets head coach Steve Nash expects Williamson to play on Wednesday night.
"I guess there is some trickiness to it -- which Zion do you get?" Nets coach Nash said. "But I think you'd be foolish not to expect an exceptional player. He's so talented and gifted. He causes problems for everybody, no matter, I think, what state his body and game is in.
He's still such a unique athlete and player. So we got to be prepared. We can't expect anything less than his best or we'll be surprised and we'll be second, and when you're reactive, you're in trouble."