Five Reasons Why Top NBA Draft Pick Zion Williamson Will be a Bust
There is an ongoing debate amongst NBA fans. Who is the next Michael Jordan? Some say, Kobe Bryant, while others unequivocally believe LeBron James is the best player to ever lace up a pair of sneakers. With King James entering his 16th season, there’s a new debate amongst pundits and diehards. Who is the next Lebron? Social media has spoken. A growing number of fans are projecting top NBA draft pick, Zion Williamson, the anointed one.
The 6’7 player from Duke University is one of the most heralded rookies in the last decade. Williamson is expected to be the first overall draft pick in June’s draft by the New Orleans Pelicans. His blocks and ferocious dunks have been viral sensations since high school and in his one season with the Blue Devils, Zion averaged 22.6 PPG, nearly nine rebounds, and two assists per game. But there’s no guarantee his game will translate to the next level. Here are our top five reasons why Zion Williamson will be an NBA draft bust.
Reason 1 — Big Boy
One of the biggest differences between college and the NBA game is the league’s physicality. Williamson was listed at a whopping 285 lbs. at Duke, so you’d think he’s ready for an 82 game regular season. NBA players won’t be able to push Williamson around. But, if he enters the NBA at his weight, he’d be the second heaviest player in the league. Only Sixers’ center 7’3 Boban Marjonovic (290 lbs.) is heavier. NBA trainers have stated Zion must start a strict cardio routine and nutrition plan to have a long professional career. In a 2018 USA Today article, NBA trainer David Nurse said:
“He needs to understand nutrition and every little aspect of taking care of himself. He has a body type that could very easily balloon up.”HoopsHype for USA Today
One NBA assistant coach who also spoke to USA Today on the condition of anonymity said:
“If you’re playing 82 games at that weight, running up and down the floor, that’s bad for his joints and it’ll take a toll on him. I think he’s going to struggle with a lot of things.
SBNation did an interesting comparison between Zion and other professional athletes. Williamson is bigger than retired New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski. Plus he’s the nearly identical size to Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. That’s “freakish” size.
Reason 2 — The Dreaded NBA Tweener
The NBA game is moving towards more versatile players without specific positions, but the laws of nature still apply. At 6’7 and nearly 300 lbs, Zion could be exposed on defense. If you play him down low as a PF, taller big men will be able to shoot over him. If Williamson plays on the perimeter, he could be exposed even worse. At 19, Zion is an athletic freak, but as he matures, his foot speed and agility will diminish. Leaner, more agile small forwards and guards expose Williamson one-one-one. He’s already a great team defender, put the NBA game puts a premium on individual defense.
Can Williamson guard the likes of Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and Kawhi Leonard nightly? Zion’s supporters believe he’s as versatile as Lebron, but his defensive shortcomings could make him the next Corliss Williamson, Anthony Bennett, or Julius Randle.
Reason 3 — Shooting Touch
Williamson’s gravity-defying dunks and strength helped Duke dominate their competition. But Zion won’t be able to barrel through every defender in the NBA. It’s a lesson 2018-19 projected league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo learned in the NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Williamson will be given room to shoot so defenders won’t be beaten off the dribble. He needs to develop a consistent mid-range jumper and three-point shot.
Williamson admitted he wasn’t a shooter in high school and shot only 34% from three at Duke in 33 games. Williamson doesn’t project as a stretch four (a big who can shoot from the arc) and hasn’t developed consistent post moves to create his own shot or force double teams. Shooting is his biggest weakness, but if he dedicates himself to improving, Zion can be a more well-rounded player.
Reason 4 — The Blue Devil Curse
Duke’s college men’s basketball team has been one of the most successful in basketball history. But there is a weird trend amongst highly regarded Duke players at the next level. They’re great in the ACC, but they struggle in the NBA. Granted (pun intended), there are exceptions. Grant Hill is a member of the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame and Kyrie Irving will be one of the most sought after free agents in the 2019 off-season. But for every Uncle Drew, there’s a Christian Laettner, Cherokee Parks, Danny Ferry, and Corey Maggette.
Thanks to the great coaching of Coach K, Duke players win a lot. Their players’ skills are then over evaluated by pro scouts. Zion, from all appearances, seems like a can’t miss NBA draft pick, but he’s battling a long history of elite collegiates who called Cameron Indoor home.
Reason 5 — Lack of Supporting Cast
Breaking news. The New Orleans Pelicans are a bad NBA team. Anthony Davis, the team’s star player has demanded a trade and the next two top players are PG Jrue Holiday and F Julius Randle. Williamson will be under immense pressure and expected to contribute right away. That’s a recipe for disaster. Zion may have some of the broadest shoulders in the league, but even he can’t carry the weight of an entire organization and city desperate for a winning NBA basketball team. Why do you think Davis wants out of the city so bad? Ownership is unable to surround its stars with enough talent to win.
There you have them. The five reason why projected number one NBA Draft Pick Zion Williamson will be a bust. Do you disagree with our list? Sound off in the comment section. Keep it clean though.