The 19-year-old rookie forward was the headlining talent at this year’s showcase, which sold out the 17,500-seat Thomas & Mack Arena for the Pelicans’ 80-74 victory over the New York Knicks. His presence led scalpers to charge $80 for general admission tickets outside the arena, and online ticket resellers were selling lower-bowl seats for $400.
Williamson, who won national player of the year honors during his freshman season at Duke, scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds in nine minutes against the Knicks, dunking four times in the first quarter before he was shut down at halftime after taking a knee-to-knee blow.
Despite Williamson’s absence, Friday night’s game concluded in eventful fashion when an earthquake led organizers to end the contest early in the fourth quarter.
The Pelicans’ careful approach to Williamson’s health is understandable, given that he blew out his sneaker and sprained his right knee during a Feb. 20 loss to North Carolina. That injury sidelined him for nearly a month, although he returned in time for the ACC and NCAA tournaments.
Summer League, the NBA’s annual showcase for young talent and fringe prospects, runs through July 15.
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