NBA Draft Profile: Zion Williamson

Pranav Ramasubramanian | June 20th, 2019

The Toronto Raptors dethroned the Golden State Warriors in six games to take the NBA Championship, but there is still another NBA event that people can look forward to. The 2019 NBA Draft will be happening tonight and it will either revive a franchise back to its glory or give them more balls at next year’s lottery. The consequence of the one and done era is that top basketball prospects are leaving school after just one year, here’s a look at one of them.

Player: Zion Williamson

Position: Power Forward

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 285 pounds

College: Duke

2019 shooting percentages

Two-point shots Free-throws Three-point shots Total

74.7% 64% 33.8% 68%

His game translates…

One of the most talked about prospects coming out of high school or college since LeBron James was Zion Williamson because of his highlight-worthy plays. Zion is able to make those plays with a 45-inch vertical soaring high for big in-game dunks and blocks so as long as he’s playing with a high motor along with good passion and energy those plays could happen at a higher rate in a longer NBA season. The one-on-one moves that Zion possesses aren’t great, but he makes up for it with great strength and a killer spin move to get himself to the rim for a great look. Isolation basketball is what Zion thrives at because he can easily get to the left side of the court to get the shot he wants and he needs to help run the pick and roll more consistently to get more of these looks. He can also rebound the ball by outjumping the opposing big men as he had 8.9 rebounds at Duke and should improve on it if he gives the same effort. Zion’s length along with anticipation helps him not just guard all five positions on the floor from point guard to center, but also helps him get in the passing lanes to steal balls for breakaway dunks or coast-to-coast layups for easy baskets and if he can continue this habit then the NBA could turn into the Zion Williamson show in no time.

Great players have big egos because they know how good they are and when things don’t go their way they tend to let their emotions take over rather than realizing that they still have time to mend their mistake. Zion needs to stay patient throughout the course of the 82-game season so that he can gain consistency in the league. Zion’s shot mechanics need a lot of work, but he has gotten better over the course of the season, although he’s still not the deep threat that defenses need to extend out for. He has a nice jab step move, but he has to have belief in himself that he can make the shot or he could end up being one-dimensional for his whole career. Another adjustment Zion needs to make, just like teammate R.J. Barrett, is he finishes plays with his left-hand so when he’s forced to play with his right hand or facilitate on the right side of the floor, he makes bad decisions costing his team valuable points that could be the difference between a win or loss in the NBA. Zion has a tendency to try and switch the ball from his right hand to his left while he is driving, but the major problem with this is that in the NBA there is a big waiting under the rim in position to take the charge so Zion has to stay under control to stay out of foul trouble and on the floor to put his team in a position to compete every night.

He does a lot of good things defensively when he’s locked in, but if he gets lazy it can lead to not recognizing switches or not having his back to the basket, which leads to easy shots for the opposing team. Another way Zion gives up easy shots is when he gambles for blocks and steals too much and miscalculates the pass letting his man catch and shoot rather than staying in front of his man. He’s fast, but he needs to conserve energy for the whole game so he can even have more burst coming off pick and pops or pick and rolls to fit in an ideal offensive system in the NBA. The best quality that Zion has is that no matter how successful he has been he stays humble so he will be very coachable and will have good teammate chemistry in the NBA.

Draft Meter: High

College basketball was turned into the Zion Williamson show night in and night out with NBA teams actively trying to tank for him because they believed he was the player that would bring an NBA championship to their city. Alvin Gentry was overjoyed when the Pelicans won the Zion sweepstakes courtesy of the lottery balls because he would get the chance to run his uptempo offense with yet another superstar. The Anthony Davis era is over for the Pelicans as he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and three first-round draft picks so the Pelicans are looking at a completely different roster after failing to surround another superstar player around the right pieces. Julius Randle announced that he is leaving via free agency so Zion will be a starter from Day 1 and with great ball distributors like Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Jrue Holiday he will be put in the right situations to score with ease.

Every game is a dogfight in the Western Conference so Zion has to get ready to feel the heat every night from October to April. Zion hasn’t played players as physically developed as some of the big men in the NBA so if he can overcome initial struggles and tweak his game to where he can be a floor spacer then he could help the Pelicans young core contend for championships while becoming LeBron James heir apparent.

Prediction: Zion Williamson gets drafted in the first round by the New Orleans Pelicans as the No.1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Read our other Draft Profiles: Brandon Clarke|R.J. Barrett|

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