Alvin Gentry and Jrue Holiday believe there is even more to come from Zion Williamson after his impressive NBA debut for the New Orleans Pelicans.

The number one overall draft pick belatedly made his regular-season bow following knee surgery, scoring 22 points - including 17 in a stunning fourth-quarter stretch - in the 121-117 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

Williamson made each of his four three-pointers following a slow start, and head coach Gentry quickly saw progress in his game.

"I think you'll see that in him," Gentry said. "It's his first NBA game, but I think the third time he went out there he was much more comfortable, much more aggressive.

"He found out that everybody makes mistakes and he just continued to play through them. I think, for him, it was just a relief to have one game under his belt.

"And now all of this goes away: first game, first game, first game. Now he can just play and get himself in a situation where he can continue to learn and continue to grow."

Gentry saw evidence of Williamson's "really, really high ceiling" but had to take the 19-year-old out of the game with more than five minutes left on doctors' orders.

"It was going to be a learning experience either way - if he played well, if he didn't play well," the coach said.

"I think the big thing is that he was much more aggressive during that situation. We talked at half-time, as I thought he was deferring way too much and I wanted him to be aggressive.

"I knew that he would make some mistakes, but I think what you saw there is a taste of what [is to come]. Once we get settled in and he gets settled in, there are a lot of things that we can do with him.

"There's a lot of potential there. It was good to see him do that. But I think there's a really, really high ceiling that he can reach. We'll just continue on, continue to practice.

"And no, he couldn't go back in the game. So don't go there. The medical people said that was it.

"We've got to be smart about it. I'm pretty sure Sean [Payton, New Orleans Saints coach] wouldn't take Drew Brees out in that situation. But we've got to be smart about it.

"We have to look long term and not one game, short term, and put him out there extended minutes. We were not going to do that in any situation.

"I think he made his point and he will continue to get better. But we can't sacrifice his whole future for one short-term thing."

Team-mate Holiday is certainly excited about what is to come, appearing alongside Williamson at a post-game news conference and interrupting one question to explain there is no return to "normal" when it comes to the teenager.

"This is going to be normal for him," Holiday said. "The way he plays, this is something he could do every day.

"We're here to help him and obviously for him to contribute to us and help us out, too. But with him being back, he's waited a long time for this and he's really excited to play - speaking for Zion."

Jrue, Justin and Aaron Holiday became the first trio of brothers to share the court at the same time in the NBA.

New Orleans Pelicans star Jrue, and Indiana Pacers pair Justin and Aaron made history on Saturday.

Jrue Holiday earned bragging rights over his brothers as the Pelicans topped the Pacers 120-98.

"It was cool. I beat them and I got their jerseys, so I'll hang those up," Jrue said afterwards. "It was fun.

"My whole family is here, family and friends, so just to be able to share that moment on the court, even from a family standpoint where I'm going back and, I'm not going to brag, but we know what happened. But it's a good feeling for me."

Prior to the game, father Shawn Holiday said: "It's a blessing. There's no other way to put it. You couldn't write the script any better than this.

"Them growing up, you couldn't envision this. For it to come true at this stage and this level, it's pretty amazing."

Jrue Holiday posted 20 points and seven assists for the Pelicans, Aaron finished with 25 and Justin did not score a point off the bench in New Orleans.

Jrue Holiday is ready for the New Orleans Pelicans' next chapter.

New Orleans' roster underwent a major overhaul as the team selected former Duke star Zion Williamson with the number one pick and sent star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and three first-round picks.

Holiday, who has been with the Pelicans since 2013-14, said Williamson has already made an impact.

"You can see just how much joy he's brought to the city," Holiday told The Athletic.

"I don't want to put too much on him because it can be hard to carry something like that at such a young age. I know he's a freakish athlete and a smart kid. If anyone can carry that burden, it would probably be him."

Holiday and Davis are close friends off the court, but the former said it would be "different" playing against the 26-year-old star.

"Obviously I grew up a Lakers fan, so it's cool to see [Davis] go there. But I still want to beat him – hands down," Holiday said.

"It's going to be different seeing him on the other side because we know each other so well. But he knows when we play [the Lakers], it's going to be a battle. I'm going to want that win just as badly as he does."

Holiday, 29, averaged a career-high 21.2 points – along with 7.7 assists – while shooting 47.2 per cent from the field last season. He also added 5.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game.

"I want to be the ultimate professional and the best team-mate,"  Holiday said. "When people talk about me, I want them to say, 'Jrue can really hoop.' That's it. I'm here to play basketball. I'm here to help my team-mates. I just want to be known as a good basketball player. Obviously, winning is a big part of that and I want to be known as a winner. That's the ultimate goal."

The Pelicans signed veterans Derrick Favors and JJ Redick this offseason.

David Griffin saw the future of the New Orleans Pelicans in a brief moment during NBA Summer League practice, and the executive vice president of basketball operations said things look "crazy" good.

Griffin introduced recruits Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart after a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers centred on Anthony Davis, and Derrick Favors – acquired from the Utah Jazz.

Coupled with first pick Zion Williamson and eighth selection Jaxson Hayes, along with returning guard Jrue Holiday, and the Pelicans are expected to be one of the most-improved teams in the NBA in 2019-20.

Griffin is thrilled with what he has seen so far, like that special moment in a recent Summer League practice.

"There was a moment where Jaxson Hayes was out running the floor in a practice with Zion on the other side, and they were sort of just messing around … and the speed those guys have just at a trot is mind-numbing," Griffin told reporters on Tuesday. "Alvin and I looked at it and we thought, 'Man with those guys on the wing, and with Lonzo at the point, what we'll be able to do speed-wise is crazy'."

That is crazy in a good way for the Pelicans, unlike last season's 33-49 craziness, lowlighted by the persistent trade rumours surrounding Davis.

Griffin said he is excited all the acquisitions come from winning backgrounds, adding: "We want to surround ourselves with people that have won championships on any level, because it's a frequency you learn to tune to. We're deep with selfless winners."

Former Lakers guard Ball welcomes the move to New Orleans, saying: "It's a fresh start. It's a restart. … I know the media is not like it was in LA, but I know the fans are great and come out and support [us]."

Ball added: "I'm getting back to playing the style I've been playing my whole life, I'm very comfortable in a high uptempo offense like coach Gentry has."

The Pelicans will enter this season with high expectations and playing under a microscope with Williamson on display. But Griffin wants the players to believe anything is possible.

"Look at what the NBA has become, and the way teams are built," Griffin said. "You can't dream big enough in this league. I think I want everyone's approach to this to be, 'Why not us?'"

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