Zion Williamson already dominates the NBA and, according to RJ Barrett, is “not even 75 percent” of what he will become at this level.
Former Duke teammates faced each other in the Rising Stars game over the weekend, and Canadian-born Barrett said he believed Williamson was just getting started. After a knee injury that cost him the first half of his rookie campaign with the pelicans, the No. 1 draft pick regains shape.
19-year-old Williamson was the youngest player in NBA history with 25 points on Friday in Portland, scoring 20 or more points in seven consecutive games, surpassing Carmelo Anthony's 2004 mark.
“He chilled in the Rising Stars game, but you could see it [Friday]I think he had 20 at half time, ”said Barret on Saturday. "You see what impact it can have and New Orleans is treating him great, so I'm happy for him."
Barrett scoffed when asked if he believed Williamson, who averaged 22.4 points and 7.2 rebounds over 11 appearances, was "all the way back" from his knee injury.
"No. He's not what he could be. But he's getting there," said Barrett. "There, but I wouldn't even say 75 percent, I would just say that he hasn't played much and is still trying to find his rhythm. He plays well, but he'll be fine."
19-year-old Barrett said he had gained confidence after scoring 27 points for the world team in the first and second years of the All Star event with many of the best players in the NBA.
"Man, I had a lot of fun. I was there and just took it up. I felt like I was watching. It was so busy that I was just happy to be part of it, ”said Barrett. “Especially playing against the best guys in my class and the year before was definitely a great feeling. … It increases my confidence [I want to] just keep playing every day and end the year strong. "
Barrett, who scored 17 points in the loss to the Pacers on Friday, also does not believe that he is facing the "Rookie Wall" because he missed the time before the All-Star break with a sprained ankle.
"No, I didn't even hit a rookie wall because I was three [weeks] and a little bit, so I'm fresh. I'm fine, "he said."[The season] passes quickly. I feel like I've just been drafted. You just learn to appreciate every day. "
Elfrid Payton (aching right ankle) did not train after the game on Friday. Mitchell Robinson (sprained left ankle) also missed training and Wayne Ellington (strained right ankle) was a limited participant.