2019 NBA Draft’s top prospect Zion Williamson has arguably been the most discussed talent since LeBron James. The South Carolina native created quite a buzz before he stepped foot on Duke’s campus with his wide array of jaw-dropping dunks for a player his size. He was rated the #7 prospect overall by 24/7 Sports and was part of one of the highest rated recruiting classes of all time that included RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones. Williamson showcased more than just his freakish athleticism during his one season at Duke which allowed him to named ACC Player of the Year and ACC Rookie of the Year. He was the AP Player of the Year and Sporting News College Player of the Year. He’s our top prospect too. As the 2019 NBA Draft Day approaches, let’s see how Zion stacks up as an NBA prospect.
Undeniably, Zion is a once in a generation type of athlete. Williamson is 6’7” and weighs a stout 285. Despite being 285, his speed and leaping ability are off the charts. He’s unofficially recorded a vertical leap of over 40 inches. For a player to accomplish that at his size is remarkable. He’s incredibly quick/light on his feet which essentially lets him maneuver like a typical guard, but in a power forward’s body. His rare combination of strength and speed allows him to play above the rim, dominate the glass and essentially become unstoppable in transition.
It’s Draft Week!
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) June 17, 2019
Known for being a violent dunker, Zion Williamson actually possesses a really soft touch around the rim as well. Considered an excellent finisher with his left hand and adequate with finishing with his right. He can already accelerate to the rim not just from transition but also from the half-court offense with little startup. He can finish through contact and is able to contort his body in mid-air to elude defenders. Zion has a solid post-up game that is highlighted by being able to catch and finish in one motion without dropping the ball.
Fans are used to seeing his unreal dunks in highlight reels, but his blocks are right up there in terms of wow factor. He averaged 1.8 blocks per game in addition to 2.1 steals. Despite only being 6’7”, has proved to be a very good rim protector and phenomenal in anticipation on defense. Excellent closeout defender and is able to take a few more risks than your average NBA player due to his lateral quickness.
? THIS CHASE DOWN BLOCK BY ZION WILLIAMSON!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 21, 2018
One of the underrated aspects of Williamson’s game is the mentality that he possesses. Despite being a superstar from day one at Duke, he was very much a team player and played within his role. Zion didn’t show an ego this season on a Duke team that was loaded with personalities. By leading this way, he ended up earning nearly every big accolade in college basketball.
Outside shooting will have to improve in order for him to realize his full potential. Zion Williamson shot 64% from the field, which is inflated due to his dunking and low post prowess. He shot 33.8% from three-point land and only 64% from the charity stripe. Both will need to improve significantly for him to realize his potential. His jumper has good mechanics and can be worked on in order for it to become a true weapon.
2019 NBA Draft Comparison
Zion Williamson is such a unique and generational player, it’s difficult to make a true comparison to him. The player that resembles Zion from pure athleticism is probably Blake Griffin. However, I believe Zion is a touch more explosive and has more natural touch than Blake Griffin. However, Zion will need to develop an outside shot like Griffin did post injuries. In order to stay relevant in the NBA when inevitably father time or injuries come into play, shooting and having a high basketball IQ will need to developed by Williamson. But there’s no doubt or question about it, Zion Williamson should be the best talent in the 2019 NBA Draft and the top selection Thursday night at 8 PM ET on ESPN.