I’ve been saying all along that Zion Williamson will not be rookie of the year in the NBA this year. I’ve also said he’s not ready for the NBA. And right now, his body is proving my theory. But before I speak of that injury, let me remind you of the one that really set him back, but no one wants to be reminded of.
Let’s go back to Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke vs Carolina. Tobacco Road Rivalry. 36 seconds into the game, he spins, and out comes his foot from his shoe.
Season over. And by the way, no National Championship.
Fast forward to the NBA Draft. We all knew he would be the number one pick. He was. He is a tremendous athlete. Moves all over the place, but his game needs to be refined.
So the Pelicans send him to the NBA Summer League to refine his game. Then another injury happens. Out for the remainder of the summer.
He recovers, gets healthy, gets ready for the NBA Preseason. Played in a couple games, he impresses, has great dunks, and then “knee soreness”. Another visit to the doctor, then surgery to address a torn right lateral meniscus.
Let those words describing the injury sink in – Torn. Right. Lateral. Meniscus.
This is bad. It’s really bad.
For Zion, AND the NBA.
So let me go ahead and say this now, and get on the nerves of the social media NBA fan. Zion’s rookie year, and campaign for rookie of the year, is FINISHED.
And the NBA is going to take a LARGE L on this. For hyping up an athlete that was unable to deliver. Granted it was for a very legitimate reason, he should be on the floor right now, selling out arenas and showcasing his talent for the NBA Universe.
Why the NBA you ask? It’s simple. There is hype all over the place for Zion Williamson. This freak of nature athlete with unlimited potential. Whose game is so raw and can be refined over time but he can get away with it. All of that, and then some, but he’s on the sideline recovering from an injury that takes more than “weeks” to recover from.
But he is not. And not just because of injury, but I’m going to refute something that many have said already, but refuse to stand by. And in actuality, there are two reasons.
First one – his weight. Yes, his weight is evenly distributed if you look at him, but at 284 pounds on a 6’6” frame? Being that athletic? You are asking your bones, joints, and muscles to perform at higher than a high level. And you’re asking this young man, who spent only ONE SEASON at Duke University to put that kind of stress on his body for a full 82-game season. Even with “load management” being popular in lexicon and practice in the NBA, his body is just not ready. Physically he’s gifted, but he’s not ready for that 82-game grind.
Then there’s the second reason. And I’ll guarantee you that hardly ANYONE will speak on this. But I will, right here right now.
Zion Williamson is playing OUT OF POSITION. I’ll say it again, Zion Williamson is playing OUT OF POSITION.
With this kind of athlete, he would benefit much much more if he were to take off about 40 pounds and shift to shooting guard.
The only other person I heard say this was Gilbert Arenas. When he stated this, it kicked open my spider senses and got me to review some tape of sir Zion.
And Gilbert Arenas is absolutely right.
With the games that I saw, and not even playing a full preseason, he needs to RUN. Zion is a thoroughbred. He needs to just take to the wind, develop a good, consistent, marksmanlike jump shot and shift to the 2.
If he stays at this weight, and that position which is power forward, not only will his weight and conditioning become an issue, but the physicality of being on the block on a nightly basis and trust me he’ll want to be on the block. It’ll remind him of his Duke days where he was playing amongst body that he can just bully out of the way
But in the NBA, it’s different. Much different.
With the likes of Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Anthony Davis and others that are in the condition to play the position, Zion will get a hard lesson each and every night and every game. And not only will it wear on him physically, but it will wear on him mentally. And in due time, he will start to question himself and his ability to play at this level.
Yeah, that second reason is major. Granted he will grow out of that the more he plays, but the NBA is taking a major hit with all the money, time, video, and everything they invested in Zion and they are not seeing a piece of return on investment yet. Because of something that could have been easily prevented and treated with another season – or two – at Duke University.
That’s Snowman’s Take, what’s yours?