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Zion Williamson says he is not New Orleans Pelicans most electric dunker

Zion Williamson rises to the rim for a two-handed dunk

Zion Williamson has bestowed the title of New Orleans Pelicans' most electric dunker on his rookie team-mate Jaxson Hayes.

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Williamson knew something very bad was about to happen. He tried to warn someone.

As the NBA's No 1 Draft pick sat on the New Orleans bench during the second quarter of a summer league game versus Chicago in July 2019, Williamson cautioned Bulls point guard Mychal Mulder not to try to step in front of Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes to draw a charge, but it was too late.

Jaxson Hayes and Zion Williamson in action for the New Orleans Pelicans in a preseason clash with the Utah Jazz
Image: Jaxson Hayes and Williamson in action for the New Orleans Pelicans in a preseason clash with the Utah Jazz

Of course, in a crowded Las Vegas arena, it did not help Williamson only said it loud enough for a team-mate or two to hear him.

Without the ability to potentially benefit from Williamson's advice, Mulder stood in the paint and waited for Hayes to plough into him for an offensive foul. Unfortunately for Mulder, the 6ft 11in Hayes instead jumped over the 6ft 4in Bull, resulting in what one Pelicans fan recently tweeted was "the greatest dunk I've ever seen in a game."

Not that Williamson needed more evidence, but that moment helped convince him Hayes is New Orleans' most electric dunker, even though Williamson is more well-known for coming up with thrilling, highlight reel-worthy slams.

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"I said to Christian Wood [on the New Orleans summer league bench], 'Don't do that. Don't do that'," Williamson remembered of fearing for Mulder, as the Chicago player stepped into Hayes' path. "[When Hayes dunked], I was like, 'Oh my God!'"

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Williamson later approached Hayes to compliment the fellow rookie on the jaw-dropping dunk.

Zion Williamson celebrates after scoring with a dunk against Milwaukee 3:02
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"I'm like, 'Jax, your head was above the rim on that!' It was legit crazy."

New Orleans and NBA fans have since viewed Hayes' above-the-rim exploits during the 56 regular-season games the Texas product played, but team-mates received an even more frequent glimpse of his athleticism, beginning with voluntary workouts in September.

Jaxson Hayes Minnesota Timberwolves 0:15
Watch this HUGE dunk from Jaxson Hayes in the New Orleans Pelicans' win over the Minnesota Timberwolves

Hayes is capable of generating soaring slams and improbable putback dunks you rarely see, one reason guard Jrue Holiday has said of him, "He is a freak of nature, one of those mutants."

Throughout the 2019-20 season, Williamson sporadically has been asked by reporters in other cities if he would like to participate in future NBA dunk contests. He generally responds he will only consider it if the Pelicans accomplish some of their big-picture team goals, wanting to focus on that first.

Jaxson Hayes elevates to score with a huge right-handed slam against the Phoenix Suns 0:15
Rookie Jaxson Hayes threw down a monstrous right-handed slam in the New Orleans Pelicans' overtime loss to the Phoenix Suns

Whether we see Williamson in that event during upcoming All-Star weekends or not, he is more than willing to stump for the NBA extending an invite to another member of New Orleans' talented 2019 Draft class.

"You should see some of the stuff he does in practice," Williamson said of Hayes' behind-closed-doors throwdowns. "I'm like, 'Man, are y'all watching this? This is amazing.'

Jaxson Hayes in action for the New Orleans Pelicans 0:11
Jaxson Hayes soared to the rim to slam home an alley-oop dunk in the New Orleans Pelicans' win over the Chicago Bulls

"Forget my dunking ability. It's amazing to watch Jaxson dunk."

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