The Verdict on Zion Williamson
Why Do People Doubt Zion?
Despite being knocked out in the elite eight, in every game, it seemed Zion intimidated his opponents on the court. His gigantic, muscular physique catches the attention of even the casual fan. Crowds roar over his incredible display of acrobatic dunks, and his powerful blocks. Additionally, Zion has impressively quick feet for a big man. It's universally agreed that Zion has all the physical tools to make it professionally. However, just because he looks the part, doesn't automatically guarantee he can actually play like a superstar.
The Case Against Him
Zion's muscular body and impressive speed aren't uncommon for athletes of different sports. For example, defensive lineman weight about the same as Zion and are also extremely fast. And Zion's 6'7, 285-lb frame enters him in uncharted territory in professional basketball, as there has never really been a player of his height and weight. Comparisons have been to LeBron James, although even LeBron was never 285 lbs.
His unusual size makes some wonder as to what position would be best for Zion. He weighs even more than a center but is only as tall as a small forward. It will be interesting to see what role teams have for Zion as far as playing on the perimeter or playing in the post. Personally, I think these questions are warranted, because it can be very risky for a team to draft a player and not know what role is best for said player. It could be too risky, that teams might feel more comfortable drafting a player that they know can fill a certain position.
Zion's athletic ability is unmatched at the college level. Personally, I think he might be one of the best all-around athletes in college basketball history. His superior athletic ability should propel him to superstardom by itself, right? Just ask Andrew Wiggins if you want the answer. Similarly to Zion, Andrew Wiggins was once expected to be his college's greatest export. And as we learned from Wiggins, athleticism alone doesn't make you a star. And just because Zion is the most intimidating man that I have ever seen, doesn't guarantee he can be an all-star.
To achieve that accolade, you must actually be good at basketball. Not to imply that Zion isn't good at basketball, but many question his overall basketball skills such as footwork, dribbling, and shooting. As it appears, Zion's footwork needs an upgrade. Additionally, his handle is not up to par as he loses his dribble a few times per game. And we all know Zion's lack of a jump shot is possibly his biggest weakness. Fortunately, these are all attributes Zion can fix over time.
The Good Qualities of Zion?
Despite a few negative qualities looming over his head, his overall contributions make a noticeable impact on the floor. His unbelievable leaping ability will make someone think twice before chucking up a three. Additionally, his paint presence is undeniable. What's amazing is that while he gets many blocks and steals, it still seems like Zion could play even better defense.
Some will say as if he's not even trying to defend his opponent. Personally, I don't think it's laziness on Zion's part, but perhaps a rise to the occasion situation. When it's necessary, I think he will put forth more effort on defense because he has a leader mentality, and I think he will lead by example when the time comes
As for Zion's offensive capabilities, he reminds many of Lebron James, because of his sheer power and strength when driving to the basket. Nobody will doubt that Zion can drive to the basket when given the opportunity to. Considering his size, nobody would want to stand in the way of him when he has an open lane to the hoop.
I would say that the players in college are somewhat lighter and smaller than the professionals, and while that's true, it does not matter because Zion could still outmuscle anybody who plays professionally. Zion uses his body to get into the paint, an attribute not many players have during the transition from college to the pros. With Zion, we'll have to wait and see.
My Final Verdict
As discussed, Zion does have some uncertainties regarding his dribbling and shooting. However, there are some instances when my jaw hits the floor in amazement over what I've just seen him do. I don't think the conversation can be broken down into star or bust; there must be a middle ground when objectively analyzing these players.
Personally, I don't think Zion will be a superstar his rookie or sophomore year. However, I believe Zion is smart enough to understand his own strengths and weaknesses. I think by his 4th or 5th season, he will truly start to emerge as the star we all expected him to be. Despite Lebron's stardom, he didn't really develop an average jump shot until a little later in his career. Also, it took several seasons for LeBron to master his playmaking ability. Much like when LeBron first came out, I think Zion still has huge improvements to make, and I believe Zion has the capacity to realize that and will work on his weaknesses.
I envision Zion's stats will go as follows: Between 14 and 18 points, 5 assist, and 6 rebounds per game throughout his first three seasons. Then, as he learns to adjust to the pros, his points per game will increase to between 22 and 26. By his fourth season, I predict he will be an all-star but by no means the best player in the league.
In conclusion, I don't believe there are any signs Zion will be a bust. I would expect him to achieve all stat status way before his career is considered a disappointment. Despite qualities to work on, I think Zion will improve his dribbling and jump shot within the next few years. All in all, I think Zion might struggle at first, but will eventually develop into a decent player, and finally, an all-star.
Do You Think Zion Will Be a Bust?
© 2019 Cody Piunno