Does Zion Williamson Deserve the Hype?

Duke began what they’re calling the “Canada Tour” in a scrimmage against Ryerson University with a bang. Freshmen Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett absolutely balled out. While Barrett scored more points, Williamson was the center of attention. Zion Williamson is a 6’6, 285 pound forward with insane athleticism. Like once in a generation athleticism. A lot of his criticism is that he can’t shoot and there isn’t a clear position for him in the NBA. He faced those critics head on in the Ryerson scrimmage last night.

Duke-Ryerson Scrimmage: What Stood Out

This scrimmage was the first time any of us had seen Zion going up against college level talent. The game ended with a Duke blowout win 86-67 on top of a few things to note about Williamson. First, he came out and nailed his first 2 three-pointers as an “F you” to the critics saying he can’t shoot. His form does look a little sloppy, but all that matters is the ball going in the hoop. Zion ended with 29 points. Also, his athleticism is no joke. People maybe thought he just looked athletic going up against high school talent, but he’s more athletic than anyone I’ve seen play in a long time. He practically dove above the backboard for a block. The block was a goaltend, but holy shit was it athletic. Finally, his hustle plays stood out the most. He fights hard for every single rebound. And it’s not in the way Russell Westbrook does it where he’ll steal rebound from teammates to pad his stats. Zion finished with 13 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 2 steals. Dude looked like an absolute beast.

Zion Williamson’s NBA Fit

Whether you think he’s worth the hype or not, Zion Williamson will be drafted next June. He’s currently projected to go number 1, and even with other players eventually standing out, I think he’s a lock as a top 7 pick. The Suns are the team with the best fit for Zion Williamson. Matching him up next to one of the best shooters in the league in Devin Booker is a match made in heaven. On top of that, Phoenix just drafted big man DeAndre Ayton with the number one pick. The young core of Booker, Williamson, Josh Jackson, and Ayton would prove to be monstrous in future years. They would all be hitting their primes right as the Warriors fall out of relevancy to top it off. The way they’ll mold so well together is from Booker’s shooting ability, Zion’s athletic cutting to the rim ability, and Ayton’s rim protecting ability. Zion is making strides to be a better shooter already, so I have no doubt that by the time he’s drafted he will have a decent enough jumpshot to get by.

Is the Hype Deserved?

Yes! The NBA is nearly all about athleticism and everything else is just a bonus. Williamson’s athleticism will allow him to blow by defenders and at the same time be a great defender. People might’ve blown by the fact I mentioned earlier of him being 285 pounds. I can’t imagine anyone willing to take a charge on a guy that weight with that speed. Williamson seems like the kind of guy who will hop into the league and make an immediate impact. He’ll for sure get recognition with his unreal blocks and dunks. Keep an eye out for Zion Williamson over the next year at Duke and for years to come in the NBA.

-Brandon Black()

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