Pelicans' Zion Williamson Joins Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson in NBA Record Books After 32-Point Performance

Zion Williamson
Pelicans' Zion Williamson joins elite company after 32-point performance Jonathan Bachman/Getty

New Orleans Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson has now joined the ranks of NBA legends Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.

Williamson's 32-point performance at Thursday's game against the Thunder gave him 221 total points through his first 10 games. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the only other former number one draft picks to accomplish a similar feat were O'Neal and Iverson.

Zion Williamson is now over 200 points (and counting) through 10 career games...

Over the last 30 seasons, the only former No. 1 picks to score 200 points within their first 10 career games are Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal (238 in 1992-93) and Allen Iverson (224 in 1996-97).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2020

After being selected as the number one pick in the 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic, O'Neal scored 238 points in his first 10 games. Iverson, who was the number one pick in the 1996 draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, scored 224 points in that same span. Both of them went on to win the NBA's Rookie of the Year award as well as being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after retiring from the NBA.

Williamson finished Thursday's game with 32 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist with a shooting percentage of 57.9. His most recent game helped improve his season averages to 22.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Williamson also complied 75 rebounds in his first 10 games. The only player to have more points and rebounds during that same span was O'Neal, who had 158 rebounds on top of his 238 points.

Zion Williamson has 221 points and 75 rebounds in 10 games in the @NBA. The last player with that many points and rebounds over his first 10 games in the league was Shaquille O'Neal in 1992 (238 points, 158 rebounds). #Pelicans #WontBowDown

— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) February 14, 2020

Williamson's 32 points Thursday also marked the second straight game in which he recorded at least 30 points, after having 31 against the Portland Trail Blazers. With his back-to-back games of at least 30 points at 19-years old, he became the fourth teenager in NBA history to do this. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James had done something similar in 2003, as well as Phoenix Suns' Devin Booker in 2015.

Last night Zion Williamson scored a career-high 32 points, which comes after scoring 31 points in his previous game...

Zion is the 4th teenager in NBA history to record consecutive 30-point games. The only players younger were LeBron James (2003-04) & Devin Booker (2015-16).

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2020

Despite coming into the NBA at a height of 6'6", Williamson has continued to dominate in the low post, going up against players much taller than he is. He is currently averaging 15.1 points in the paint, the third most in the NBA. Out of his 221 total points, 158 have come in the paint, which, according to ESPN Stats & Info, is the most during a player's first 10 games over the past 20 seasons.

On top of his 15.1 points in the paint per game, he also averaged 5.3 second chance points. In addition to being the highest across the NBA, that number also placed Williamson's name next to O'Neal's again as the only two players in the past 20 seasons to average at least 5.0 second chance points and 15 points in the paint.

From @ESPNStatsInfo: Heading into tonight, Zion Williamson leads the NBA in 2nd chance PPG (5.2) and 3rd in paint PPG (15.1).

Over the last 20 seasons, the only player to average 5.0 2nd chance PPG and 15.0 paint PPG in the same season is Shaquille O'Neal.

— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 14, 2020

Through 12 pts in the paint tonight, Zion Williamson has 148 points in the paint this season. The most through a player's first 10 career games over the last 20 seasons.

Entering the day, Zion averaged 15.1 PPG in the paint, 3rd highest in the NBA.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2020

Meanwhile, Williamson is participating in the NBA's All-Star Weekend Rising Stars game at 9 p.m. ET Friday, in which the league's first- and second-year players are split into two rosters (U.S. and world), based on the player's nationalities.

He will look to continue his rookie dominance after the All-Star break when the Pelicans face the Portland Trail Blazers on February 21.