'Freak of nature': NBA world erupts over epic Zion Williamson play

New Orleans star Zion Williamson has given NBA fans a superb taste of what to expect, with an insane play in his first pre-season match.

The NBA's No.1 Draft pick didn't take long to leave viewers in awe during the Pelicans' match against the Atlanta Hawks.

Williamson, the 19-year-old former Duke University player, showed the step up top the big time didn't seem to bother him in the slightest.

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The New Orleans forward had fans off their seats after throwing down a trademark dunk in the first quarter of the game.

Williamson exploded onto a pass from outside the three-point line, before accelerating into the paint past three Atlanta defenders.

Zion Williamson's massive dunk lit up social media. Pic: Fox Sports

Shifting the ball to his right hand, the Pelicans star finished the move off with a powerful one-handed dunk over the top of a Damian Jones.

The incredible play left basketball fans in a frenzy on social media.

Coach downplays LeBron James comparisons

Williamson's preseason debut comes 16 years to the day that LeBron James made his debut under the weight of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise.

The 19-year-old has been compared to James by many, but don’t count Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry as one of them.

He was adamant after recent practice that few are like the three-time NBA champion and few 19-year-old players can impact the league immediately.

"They shouldn't do that [comparing]," Gentry said.

"We are not doing that. We are comparing Zion to Zion. We want Zion to be the best Zion Williamson that he can be. Not anybody else. We want him to be the best basketball player he can become using his name and no comparison."

Zion Williamson has been touted as the next LeBron James. Pic: Getty

He continued: "I know that it's inevitable that that's going to be the case, but we are not drinking that Kool-Aid."

An estimated 10,000 attended the Pelicans’ open scrimmage on Saturday as Williamson mania revs up with the start of the season around the corner.

The No. 1 pick was a big draw for TV ratings at Duke and his early games in the NBA are expected to also garner a flood of attention.

For those who do wish to compare, the then 18-year-old James went 4-for-12 in his preseason debut, with eight points, three rebounds and seven assists.

He averaged 20.9 points on 41.7 percent shooting with 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists per game en route to the 2003-04 Rookie of the Year honour.

With Yahoo Sports US