Zion Williamson described his NBA debut as "a lot of fun" after he produced one of his customary dunks in the New Orleans Pelicans' preseason win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Williamson was on the floor for 28 minutes of the Pelicans' 133-109 victory in Atlanta, with the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft scoring 16 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

He also produced a moment which showed just why he is one of the most hyped prospects to enter the league, driving at Hawks center Damian Jones and bypassing his attempted block to finish with authority.

"It was a lot of fun," Williamson said afterwards.

"First NBA game – it's not going to count on the record – but it's the first one of hopefully many and I'm glad I can get that one under my belt."

Discussing his dunk on Jones, he added: "I just saw the lane open up and this isn't high school or college anymore, you've got to go up strong so I went up strong and I was able to finish."

However, Williamson was keen to stress he is so much more than just a player capable of producing highlight-worthy plays.

"I don't think just dunking would have got me here," he said.

"I had to be somewhat of a good basketball player to get here, so whenever I have a chance to showcase my other abilities I try."

While it appeared that Williamson was enjoying himself, he noted that he still has plenty to learn.

He was 0-for-2 on three-point attempts and was heckled by the crowd for missing a free-throw try, ending up 4-for-7 from the line.

"If it was up to me I'd probably be out there laughing and joking a lot more," Williamson admitted.

"But I'm a rookie, I’m trying to feel things out. If I feel like I can do a lot more laughing and playing, I'm going to do it. But for now I'm low-key."

NBA training camp began on Tuesday and the regular season is just around the corner.

Once preseason play begins Friday, plenty of rookies will be set loose so they can show what they can do before rotations are narrowed.

Each year first-year players exceed the expectations set for them, so we have put together a shortlist of who you should look out for.

Here are five under-the-radar rookies you should keep an eye on:

 

Chris Clemons, Guard, Rockets 

There is no guarantee Chris Clemons will make the Houston Rockets' roster, but we have a good feeling he will be in the mix this season.

The Campbell product led the nation in scoring in 2018-19, averaging 30.1 points and ended his college career as the third-highest scorer ever in NCAA Division I men's basketball history.

Although Clemons is 5-9, he has above-average athleticism and a willingness to fire the long ball while making them at an efficient clip, which makes him perfect for Houston.

He made five three-pointers and scored 21 points in 18 minutes in the fourth quarter of the Rockets' exhibition win against the Shanghai Sharks on Monday.

Houston's analytics-driven offense will always have room for snipers who make the most of open space.

Brandon Clarke, Forward, Grizzlies 

Brandon Clarke had plenty of critics leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft, but the undersized forward answered a lot of questions during summer league play.

Clarke helped lead the Memphis Grizzlies to an NBA Summer League title in July and was awarded MVP honours twice in Las Vegas.

At 6-8, he is not the most physically imposing power forward. However, his athleticism, natural defensive instincts, high motor, efficient finishing around the basket, and dedication to improving as a perimeter shooter will make it hard to keep him off the floor.

Most eyes will be on 2019's second overall pick Ja Morant and second-year forward Jaren Jackson, and that will give Clarke an opportunity to continue exceeding expectations.

Carsen Edwards, Guard, Celtics

If there is one thing that stands out about Carsen Edwards, it is his ability to fill it up on difficult shot attempts.

Although he will be backing up an All-NBA talent in Kemba Walker, Edwards should have ample opportunity to run the offense with the Boston Celtics. Especially since Marcus Smart is not much of an on-ball guard.

Edwards' quick release and seemingly unlimited shooting range helped him average 24.3 points at Purdue last year and 34.8 points in the NCAA tournament.

He is one guy who will not hesitate to shoot his shot and establish a role for himself early.

Bruno Fernando, Center, Hawks

Bruno Fernando slipped through the cracks after originally being considered a lottery prospect in 2019, but he still has plenty of promise.

He is a capable two-way player who averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season at Maryland and will compete to back up Alex Len down low.

Fernando's large frame, athleticism and potential to affect games as a post passer could make him valuable on a team with plenty of young talent that will attract more attention.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Guard, Pelicans

Nickeil Alexander-Walker will certainly benefit from the New Orleans Pelicans' versatility at the guard spots.

Much like Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday, who will likely form one of the NBA's best defensive backcourts in 2019-20, Alexander-Walker can play on or off the ball.

Although he is 6-5 his 6-9 wingspan only adds to the great length of the Pelicans' ball handlers. 

The Canadian's aggressive driving and craftiness around the rim are complemented by the developing shot creation skills he showcased in the summer league.

New Orleans' combination of young, athletic finishers and a sharpshooter in JJ Redick have set the table for Alexander-Walker to thrive in a reserve role.

Vince Carter has re-signed for the Atlanta Hawks to begin his record-breaking 22nd NBA season aged 42.

The eight-time All-Star has been in the league since 1998, having been drafted fifth overall by the Toronto Raptors.

Carter was the Rookie of the Year in his first season and is set to become the first NBA player to feature in 22 campaigns.

He will also be the first to play in four different decades when he steps on the court in 2020, while his 1,481 career games put him first among active players and fifth all-time.

After lengthy stints with the Raptors and the Brooklyn Nets - then the New Jersey Nets - Carter has had short stops with the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

He joined the Hawks ahead of the 2018-19 season and averaged 7.4 points in 17.5 minutes per game across 76 appearances.

Carter, who won gold with the United States at the 2000 Olympic Games, confirmed in May he would be looking to return for the coming campaign.

Zion Williamson's fellow NBA rookies do not expect him to have the best career of the players in his draft class, with Cam Reddish coming out on top in the league's annual rookie survey.

Only five per cent of respondents in the survey believe Williamson will have the best career of the 2019 draftees.

Atlanta Hawks guard Reddish, meanwhile, received 19 per cent of the vote for the question.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (16 per cent) and Hawks forward De'Andre Hunter (11 per cent) also ranked higher than Williamson.

Three other players – Jaxson Hayes, who will play alongside Williamson for the New Orleans Pelicans, RJ Barrett and Coby White matched the small forward at five per cent.

Reddish, who was selected at number 10 by the Hawks, and Williamson were team-mates at Duke Blue Devils.

Williamson was the story of college basketball last season and averaged 22.6 points, along with 8.9 rebounds, while shooting 68 per cent from the field.

He was the consensus top prospect in the 2019 draft and the Pelicans chose him with the number one pick.

However, Williamson is favoured to win the Rookie of the Year among members of his draft class, as 35 per cent of respondents in the survey predicted he would take home the award.

Jabari Parker is reportedly heading to Atlanta.

The forward signed a two-year deal worth $13million with the Hawks, Yahoo Sports reported on Monday. According to the report, the second year includes a player option.

Parker, 24, became a free agent after the Washington Wizards declined the last year of his two-year, $40m contract in June.

According to reports, the two sides expected to work something out before Parker decided to leave for Atlanta.

He was drafted second overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2014 and remained with the team until 2018, when he signed a $20m contract with the Chicago Bulls. He was traded to the Wizards before the deadline in February.

While talented, two severe knee injuries have derailed Parker's career. In 25 games with the Wizards, he averaged 15.9 points and 7.2 rebounds.

Golden State Warriors have traded Damian Jones to Atlanta Hawks, bringing in Omari Spellman in exchange, the NBA teams have announced.

Beaten finalists last season, the Warriors - who have lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets and Andre Iguodala to the Memphis Grizzlies - are looking to bolster their bench ahead of the new campaign.

Jones was 30th pick in 2016, and was promoted to a starter at Golden State in 2018-19, though he was sidelined after 22 games due to a pectoral tear.

Spellman, meanwhile, was also the 30th pick in the 2018 draft, but he only featured in 46 games in his rookie season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game.

And it was confirmed on Monday that the players had been traded, with the Warriors also handing the Hawks a second-round pick for the 2026 draft.

With Durant and Iguodala gone, the Warriors are also preparing to be without Klay Thompson due to a torn ACL.

By getting Spellman, the Warriors can pad their bench while the Hawks receive another utility man.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum won the NBA Skills Challenge after nailing a half-court shot on All-Star weekend.

Tatum converted the stunning long-range attempt to beat Atlanta Hawks youngster Trae Young in Charlotte on Saturday.

With Young ahead of him and preparing to make a shot from beyond the arc, Tatum did not break stride as he nailed the sensational three-pointer.

"I'm just here trying to have fun. I threw it up and it went in," Tatum told TNT afterwards.

Tatum – who has been linked with a move away from the Celtics amid the team's reported interest in wantaway New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis – overcame Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley in the first round.

The 20-year-old forward then trumped Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets before pipping Young in the final.

LeBron James made his home debut at Staples Center but it did not go according to plan after the Los Angeles Lakers lost a feisty game against the Houston Rockets. 

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