Before I begin, let me say that I hope Zion Williamson turns into a great NBA player. I hate the notion that because you do not believe a player will have the career that a majority of people are hyping you up to have that I am actually praying for that player to have a bad career just to validate my point. No. I want to be proven wrong. Zion could do a lot of great things and basketball and could be an all-time great and I hope that happens because it is players like him that keep sports great. The problem is that people swarm to the hype too much and are expecting Zion to be the next LeBron or Michael Jordan. That is just so unfair for an 18-year old kid to have those expectations and just one of the few reasons why I am not sold on Zion being great in the NBA.
Lack of Basic Fundamentals
When you watch highlights of Zion, what is shown on 95 percent of them, Zion jumping. In case you did not know, Zion jumps very high and that is what is shown on all of his viral videos on social media. He has very explosive dunks and has had some very memorable blocks. Zion is a rebounder, but I am not seeing the boxouts. Duke only had four more rebounds than North Dakota State in their first-round NCAA tournament matchup. NDSU did not have an Anthony Davis, Giannis or Karl-Anthony Towns. Zion is 6 foot 6 inches tall. He is not going to outrebound those three men by trying to outjump them, oh and by the way, those three men box out. Zion also relies on his blocking to make up for his lack of pure defense. He is not going to properly close out and make you pump-fake and drive. If he is going out to defend a jump shot, then he is going for that block. His defense is predictable. If you can time when he goes for the block, then you expose him.
Being only 6 feet 6 inches tall, Zion has not developed the shot that a guy at that height should have. You can say, “Well, Ben Simmons can’t shoot”, but Simmons has already hit his ceiling now. He is nothing more than a driver and that takes away any versatility and unpredictability that Philly could have. Zion averages two three-point attempts per game with Duke and only making 34 percent of them. Being a dunker has proven to not translate well to this generation of basketball(DeAndre Jordan).
JaMarcus Russell and Anthony Bennett are former No.1 picks in the NFL and NBA that ate their way out of the league. Zion is around 270 pounds. I believe that Zion has the discipline to eat well and have the right workout plans to either stay where he is at in terms of size or to even slim down and become an even faster athlete than he already is. Could you imagine the possibilities of Zion’s skill if he had LeBron’s acceleration? That would guarantee Hall of Fame status.
Like I said, Zion is 18 years old and will still be 18 once he is drafted. How will he handle all the money from his rookie contract, shoe deals, and sponsorships just from this summer alone? Does that motivation to be a great player remain the same or does he fold and not work as hard after he is set for life financially? I am 20 years old, I make little to nothing and I still do not handle money well. What on earth is a 19-year old with his popularity and stature going to do with tens of millions of dollars this summer?
I want to believe that Zion is not just all hype. Unfortunately, being a highly-dedicated sports guy my entire life and seeing many hype machines fail does not trend well for Zion. There has never been this much anticipation for a single player in sports history since LeBron. LeBron lived up to the hype, but he came from nothing and had a work ethic that had never been seen before. There was also no social media and social media has created a world that will chew you up and spit you out just as fast as they crafted you. As the NBA Draft Lottery looms tonight, I had to get this out there. I have never seen so much excitement across social media for a person ever and I fear what the consequences will be for Zion if he can not live up to these unfathomable expectations.