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Zion Williamson’s Mind Game: Pelicans’ Star Unleashes ‘Chess’ Strategy to Silence Aggressiveness Doubts


Pelicans star Zion Williamson dropped a truth bomb on what fans perceive as his lack of aggressiveness as he tries to be more of a playmaker.

For the first three quarters of the New Orleans Pelicans117-106 win over the red-hot Los Angeles Clippers, Zion Williamson appeared content to defer to his teammates. He had just eight points on 2-8 shooting from the field during that span, leading some to question why he wasn’t being his usual aggressive self when it comes to attacking the basket.

However, the fourth quarter was a different story for Williamson. The Pelicans star made it a mission to inflict damage on the Clippers paint, and as a result, he was able to score 13 points on 5-8 shooting from the field in the final frame, torching the defense of Russell Westbrook and Mason Plumlee in the process.

Zion Williamson wants to quell concerns about his aggressiveness for good by saying that he is “playing chess”, lulling the opposition to sleep and then pouncing when the Pelicans need him to secure the victory.

“My teammates will tell me to be more aggressive when it comes to scoring. But for me, I’m playing chess within the game,” Williamson said, per Pelicans Film Room on Twitter (X). “Seeing how the defense is guarding me, and then picking my spots.”

In a Pelicans team with quality shot-creators such as Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, Zion Williamson knows that he doesn’t have to force the issue. Williamson is merely learning to become a more impactful player within a team setting (which means being more of a playmaker) which others often misconstrue as a lack of aggression on his part.

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“I know there are times when you watch it, it feels like I’m not being aggressive but that’s not the case at all. Our movements are aggressive. I score. I get an open shot from my teammate. Whether they’re making [shots] or not, the defense at some point has to respect that I’m making that pass. [But] when it’s time to get to it, I’m gonna get to it,” Williamson added.

It’s not a stretch to say that the Pelicans will only go as far in the playoffs as Zion Williamson would take them. The Pelicans need to trust that Williamson has the opposition read and that they have the checkmate in their grasp more often than not.


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