New Orleans Pelicans: Projecting Zion Williamson’s NBA career

NBA New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NBA New Orleans Pelicans Zion Williamson (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Trying to project what New Orleans Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson’s NBA career will look like 

With the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the New Orleans Pelicans selected Zion Williamson – a player that many expect to be a generational talent, one that the NBA hasn’t seen since LeBron James broke into the league.

If nothing else, Zion definitely does bring to the NBA a world-class athleticism that few have ever had. But what does Zion Williamson’s basketball game offer NBA fans for the next decade of basketball?

I’m going to dig into Zion’s game and breakdown what we can expect to see from the heralded Duke freshmen in his first year in the NBA.

More from Sir Charles In Charge

From what we know about Zion, he’s superbly athletic, an excellent shot-blocker, an above-average playmaker – on both ends of the floor – and has the potential to be a  defender.

Zion Williamson is coming off one of the best seasons a freshmen has had in college basketball history. Williamson, in his only season at Duke, averaged 23 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks on 30 minutes per contest.

While putting up such elite statistics Zion became just the third freshman in NCAA history to collect 500 Points, 50 Steals, and 50 Blocks in a season, which was done by only Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis before.

Zion’s amazing season led to a collection of countless awards few other collegiate players can claim to have accomplished. Zion took home a few college Player of the Year awards such as the 2019 Wooden Award and the 2019 Naismith Award. As well as taking home the 2019 ACC Player of the Year and 2019 ACC Rookie of the Year.

Zion has great talent and as shown by his dominance in college has a very promising potential to be a great NBA player as well. Zion has been compared in terms of his physical abilities, game style and stature to former NBA stars Larry Johnson and Charles Barley. Those are solid comps but I would like to go a little deeper to describe what Williamson game is like and what former players we can break his basketball strengths too.

Zion’s greatest strengths are his relentless motor, amazing strength, speed, and athletic ability as well as his excellent basketball IQ for the game. When we look at Zion’s full basketball make-up I see a player that is a combination of Shawn Kemp, Josh Smith, and Anthony Mason.

Zion compares very well to Mason in size and play style. Mason was a well built forward that could dribble the ball up the floor and make plays for his teammates despite being a frontcourt player. Mason shares with Zion great intensity on both sides of the court, excellent court vision and passing ability similar to that of Draymond Green.

One of Zion’s best skills is his ability to play defense on a high-level. Zion is an absolute playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Zion has shown he can be an elite shot-blocker and disruptive team defender. This aspect of Zion’s game is very close to that of Josh Smith. Smith was a elite shot-blocker who led the lead in blocks before and averaged over two per game for most of his career. Smith and Zion share similar profiles coming into the NBA from the defensive side of the ball as well as being both exceptional dunkers.

On the subject of dunking, Zion has already made his dunking ability one to behold from spectators and audiences all across the world. Zion has used his generational Athleticism to build a supreme reel of highlight dunks before he’s even played one game in the NBA.

Zion’s great dunking prowess brings memories and reminiscence of Shawn Kemp. Zion’s great power and force that he brings when he tries to dunk compares well to how Kemp embarrassed rims and shot-blocker alike in the1990s.

I believe Zion will be a combination of these three NBA legends but he’ll be for sure something the league hasn’t quite witnessed before. Zion has the potential to become a great NBA player with the hope he is able to stay healthy throughout his career.

dark. Next. Chicago Bulls: Should tanking continue to be the plan in 2019-20?

After looking over comparable NBA rookie years, here are what we can expect numbers-wise from Zion in his 2019-20 NBA season: plays 60-65 Games, 29 minutes per game, 13-15 points per game, 7-8 rebounds per game, three assists per game, one steal and one block per game.