Jay C. Brandriet
Zion Williamson came into the NBA with more hype than any athlete since LeBron James.
He entered the league at an interesting time in history. HIs first two years included a season being paused, a bubble, and a truncated 72 game schedule.
I’ve watched Zion quite a bit. Now that he’s played 82 games, it’s a fair to time to ask how this guy has done on the court?
Williamson is collecting bodies at the rim. He’s creating collisions. He’s ferocious, but has a ton of finesse.
This is what thunder would look like if it could handle and pass.
He’s starting to back up and getting a running start at the basket.
We’ve made a lot of agreeable comparisons about this former phenom from Duke.
Rick Carlisle probably nailed it. “He’s like Shaq with point guard skills.”
Zion is racking up historical like numbers with points in the paint, dunks, and getting his own shots blocked.
So far? He’s a megastar with his mind on the grind. His game screams power and style, while his mouth softly speaks humility.
This window of time came with 25.5 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. He makes an incredible 60.5% of his shots from the field. All of this standing, 6’7″ inches tall.
It’s true that he doesn’t scare anyone from the outside yet. He’s not interested. This will not hinder him long term.
In his first game, he struggled to get into the flow. Then he hit four straight three pointers.
He’s a performer.
The Lakers have defeated Zion’s teams early in his career. Watch Williamson play versus LeBron. He looks the part. His aggressiveness and stat lines have been there.
He has swagger and wants to take on the challenge.
So far, the Pelicans haven’t come close to winning. Zion will be done getting “passes” for that next year.” It will be time to introduce himself to the post season in a big way.
AFTER 82 GAMES, HOW GOOD IS ZION?
Today, he is likely between the 7th to 13th best basketball player on earth.
He’s 20 years old.
Next year, he’s fighting to be the best.
Whether he succeeds or fails, I see third year Williamson as having a chance to be THE top player in the sport.
Remember when Shaq was named a top 50 player of all time after only three and a half seasons? You knew he didn’t deserve it, but you looked away because his level to be was so obvious.
After 82 games, I could claim Zion is the 100th greatest player of all time.
WHAT HAPPENED IN GAME 83 LAST NIGHT?
Williamson goes 14-17 from the field. He grabs 9 rebounds and hands out 8 dimes. He scored 7 of his 37 points in overtime to secure the victory.
About that hype?
Zion is handling business on his end.
Jay C. Brandriet