Duke basketball: Zion Williamson dunks pregame despite missing Play-In

Duke basketball forward Zion Williamson (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Duke basketball forward Zion Williamson (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

Duke basketball star Zion Williamson put on a dunking show prior to the Play-In Game. 

Intrigue surrounding Duke basketball sensation Zion Williamson never ceases and the noise grew louder as the NBA Play-In Tournament approached and the All-Star hasn’t played since January 2 because of a hamstring strain.

The New Orleans Pelicans were the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference and hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder, the No. 10 seed, on Wednesday night needing a victory to extend its season.

However, it would once again be doing so without Williamson as the former Blue Devil still doesn’t feel like himself when he’s on the court.

“Physically I’m fine,” the former No. 1 overall pick told reporters on Tuesday.

“Now it’s just a matter of when I feel like Zion.”

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In four seasons in the NBA, Zion Williamson has played just 114 games and he was only able to participate in 29 games this year after missing the entire of last season due to a broken right foot.

Williamson did average 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game when he was on the court with the Pelicans and was named as a starter to the All-Star Game but, despite his absence, he was on the court prior to New Orleans’ Play-In Tournament loss to Oklahoma City throwing down typical Zion-like dunks.

Duke basketball superstar getting a lot of criticism for absence

The workout, specifically dunks, from Zion Williamson raised many eyebrows as to why he could not play against the Thunder after looking explosive and healthy in one of his first public basketball appearances.

“Not going to lie to you. It’s been very frustrating,” Williamson added.

“Not being able to play sucks. But I mean, things have gotten better.”

New Orleans saw its season end after the 123-118 loss as Oklahoma City will play the Minnesota Timberwolves for the right to advance to the NBA Playoffs and battle against the top-seed Denver Nuggets.

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Williamson also missed last year’s Play-In Tournament and subsequent playoff games with the Pelicans.

“It’s just a matter of like, you know, when I feel like myself. Just feeling like myself and knowing that I can go out there and have a big impact for my team,” he added on when he would feel like himself enough to play.

Zion Williamson remains one of the cornerstones of the New Orleans Pelicans franchise but it’s time for him to be on the court much more often as the organization has signed him to a contract extension through the 2027-28 season.

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