Pelicans forward Zion Williamson drives to the basket against the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night at the Smoothie King Center. Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson was the most hyped prospect coming into the NBA since LeBron James. On Tuesday night, Zion’s name was mentioned once more with LeBron following a dominant performance against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Of course, Zion did more than just throw down incredible alley-oop slams against the Trail Blazers. Portland never had an answer for the 6-foot-6 forward’s unmatched athleticism and strength. The rookie went off inside the paint, made frequent trips to the free-throw line and joined NBA history.

Zion’s unbelievable performance now puts him in an exclusive club with LeBron, Kevin Durant and Luka Doncic. While we’ve seen some ridiculous rookie seasons in recent years, Zion’s play of late and at this age is remarkable. He’s practically unstoppable on the court and he’s still just starting to get his feel for the NBA. He’s providing plenty of highlights this season, too.

The 31-point, nine-rebound and five-assist masterpiece wasn’t his only historic mark on the night. Zion became the third player with seven 20-plus point games in his first 10 career NBA appearances in the last 30 seasons. The only other players to accomplish it -- NBA legends Grant Hill and Shaquille O’Neal.

Zion is just getting started with the NBA career and we’re likely only getting a taste of what’s to come. If he keeps this up, however, hitting historic marks will become as routine for him as jaw-dropping dunks.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.


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Can you name every No. 1 overall NBA draft pick in the lottery era?
2019 / NO
Zion Williamson
2018 / PHX
Deandre Ayton
2017 / PHI
Markelle Fultz
2016 / PHI
Ben Simmons
2015 / MIN
Karl-Anthony Towns
2014 / CLE
Andrew Wiggins
2013 / CLE
Anthony Bennett
2012 / NO
Anthony Davis
2011 / CLE
Kyrie Irving
2010 / WAS
John Wall
2009 / LAC
Blake Griffin
2008 / CHI
Derrick Rose
2007 / POR
Greg Oden
2006 / TOR
Andrea Bargnani
2005 / MIL
Andrew Bogut
2004 / ORL
Dwight Howard
2003 / CLE
LeBron James
2002 / HOU
Yao Ming
2001 / WAS
Kwame Brown
2000 / NJ
Kenyon Martin
1999 / CHI
Elton Brand
1998 / LAC
Michael Olowokandi
1997 / SA
Tim Duncan
1996 / PHI
Allen Iverson
1995 / GSW
Joe Smith
1994 / MIL
Glenn Robinson
1993 / ORL
Chris Webber
1992 / ORL
Shaquille O'Neal
1991 / CHA
Larry Johnson
1990 / NJ
Derrick Coleman
1989 / SAC
Pervis Ellison
1988 / LAC
Danny Manning
1987 / SA
David Robinson
1986 / CLE
Brad Daugherty
1985 / NYK
Patrick Ewing

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