Zion minutes: expect them to go up

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NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 22: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans grabs a rebound against the San Antonio Spurs at Smoothie King Center on January 22, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, the first pick in the 2019 NBA draft, will see increase minutes, soon.

Williamson scored 22 points in 18 minutes in his NBA debut, a 121-117 loss to the Spurs Wednesday night.

This is not something that is going to last very long guys, like the rest of the year talking about energy or burst or anything like that,” Gentry told reporters after practice Thursday in Metairie.

Alvin Gentry/Pelicans head coach

Gentry said Williamson practiced full Thursday, and didn’t experience any soreness in his surgically repaired right knee.

Williamson left the game with 5:23 to go in the fourth quarter, after he had scored 17 points in three minutes. Gentry said the Pelicans’ training staff wanted Zion out of the game.

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Pelicans teammates were impressed. Guard JJ Redick said the atmosphere at the Smoothie King Center was like May, not January.

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The Pelicans host Denver Friday at 7 pm.

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