Zion Williamson NBA debut: Pelicans rookie overjoyed to put rehab behind him

Zion Williamson said he "wanted to punch a wall or kick chairs" during his time sidelined with a knee injury. The No. 1 overall draft pick is finally set to make his NBA debut Wednesday, though, meaning furniture in New Orleans should be safe for the time being.

The 19-year-old Pelicans forward is expected to play against the Spurs, with several reports saying he will be in the starting five.

Williamson has recovered fully from the torn meniscus he suffered before the 2019-20 regular season started. That blow occurred in October, setting back a player who had impressed in the preseason.

"It was frustrating not being able to move your body the way you want to, not to make any athletic movements," Williamson said. "It was tough, especially because I was 19 and hadn't played my first NBA game. It was tough but I battled through."

MORE: Everything you need to know about Zion's debut

Williamson may make the smoothest of transitions, or it could take the young forward a while to attune to the pace of the game. Given his preseason performances, the former option seems most likely.

Asked how good he could prove to be, Williamson told reporters: "Do I even get to determine that? My plan is to go out and contribute where coach needs me."

He hopes to provide capable support to Brandon Ingram, who is scoring 25.6 points per game this season, and build chemistry with ballhandlers Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.

Born in Salisbury, N.C., Williamson said it felt as though the people of New Orleans had "adopted me a bit." Now he has the chance to reward the city with an electric final couple of months to the season.

"It's been great. The city's beautiful, the people are beautiful as well. They welcome me," Williamson said. "They show love everywhere I go and tell me they can't wait for me to get back out there."