Pelicans confident Zion Williamson will return to All-Star playing level

The New Orleans Pelicans expect Zion Williamson to return to All-Star playing level after recovering from a foot surgery that cost him the entire 2021/22 season.

New Orleans and the young big man agreed to a rookie max extension a couple of days ago, which will keep Zion with the team long-term. The deal is for five years, worth up to $231M, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Over the past three seasons, Zion Williamson has appeared in only 85 games with the Pelicans. In 2020/21, his best season so far, he averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists, on 61.1% from the field.

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Six weeks ago, the Pelicans cleared the former All-Star to return to play without restrictions, giving him the opportunity to do individual work and return to full form ahead of the season start.

The Pelicans view him as a franchise player and know a healthy Zion Williamaon can make the team a legit title contender. That’s why they granted him the max extension, which clearly shows their faith in him.

With Zion Williamson healthy, New Orleans has its own Big-3 in the young big man, CJ McCollum and Brandon Ingram. The franchise now has its sights set on a deep playoff run next season, while a return to the postseason certainly is a minimum target.

Last season, New Orleans made it to the playoffs, but lost to the Phoenix Suns in six games in the opening round (4-2).

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