Unexpectedly Zion Williamson missed a good portion of the season and fell short of getting the Pelicans to an 8th seed to compete in the bubble. The Pelicans hovered around .500 and Zion Williamson’s return from injury came just in time, what I did notice is the Pelicans did not go on the surge needed to catch the Grizzlies in the standings. Zion Williamson did not seem as physically dominant as he did at Duke based of what I saw, we don’t take into account that he is only 6’6 and it is his massive frame and width which makes him look much bigger than he actually is. I believe if Zion Williamson can reach his peak he could be the next Shaquille O’Neal of the NBA because he has a score first mentality and is a very underrated passer out of the post a lot like Shaquille O’Neal was in his prime. The way the game is played now playing Zion Williamson at the center position in spurts throughout a game would be a terrific strategy or if you decide to go ultra small you can start him at center. He has a center’s physique just not the length, his wingspan is not other worldly but Zion will have the ability to dominate on both ends of the floor.
I can’t guarantee the Pelicans will be in the West Finals next season but it would not surprise me. As of now we do not know who will be head coach going into next season as the Pelicans have been patient in their coach search but to be able to inherit a generational talent like Zion Williamson with a pure point-guard in Lonzo Ball who is a consistent jump-shot away from being an all-star, it is a job I would love to have. Lonzo Ball and Zion Williamson could be the new version of Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire as Lonzo and Zion will be frightening on fast-breaks and more potent defensively than Nash and Amare in the late 2000’s. Zion has had all the rest he could ask for to recover fully from his injury and should be a top 15 player at the very least by the end of next season. Saying he will be a top 10 or even top 5 player would be reaching, Luka Doncic has made the leap as an elite player in the NBA averaging close to a 30 point triple double and by leading the Dallas Mavericks to the playoffs this season. It’s not out of the realm that Zion could average 25-27 ppg next season and lead the Pelicans to a showdown versus the Lakers in the Conference Finals next season, the Warriors,Rockets,Nuggets,Mavericks,and Clippers don’t convince me as a challenger for the West crown next season.
The moment Alvin Gentry said Zion Williamson was not expected to come in and be Superman for the Pelicans I guessed he wouldn’t be around long-term because the Pelicans drafted Zion Williamson to be their franchise player not just a role player. Zion’s skill-set is impressive, he could definitely become a better handler and shooter which are obvious holes in his game but this kid has a natural knack for being around the ball at all times. He is a very good rebounder for his size and knows how to attack coming off a screen and finish through contact. He can push the ball up the floor and is a very underrated passer with a high basketball iq, he seems very coach-able and just needs a coach that believes in him. For Zion it will be a uphill battle to receive the recognition Luka Doncic has received after his great season but one way Zion could catch up to Luka is by going further in the playoffs next season or beating Luka in a playoff match-up. I don’t know about you but I am more curious about what Zion will be doing going into his second season than Luka, anything short of a Conference Finals for Luka Doncic next season is a failure because he is being regarded as a top 5 player in the NBA now so he must prove it.
To conclude everyone is wondering who will be the face of the NBA after LeBron James retires and I believe it will be Zion Williamson. I love Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokoumpo who I believe will both be hall-of-famers along with Zion Williamson I just think Zion embodies everything the NBA seeks as the face of its league. He has the hype behind him as the #1 overall pick and that comes with high expectations, and he also has the jaw dropping dunks which brings arenas into a frenzy the way LeBron James has done for close to 2 decades. Zion Williamson will do the dunk competition in the future and more then likely will be a Slam Dunk Contest Champion within the next 4-5 years which will only increase his popularity in the NBA, believe me after Vince Carter’s historical performance in the early 2000’s he was arguably the most popular player in the league aside from Allen Iverson. No one knows Zion Williamson’s goals for next season but I think he will give New Orleans everything they expected from Anthony Davis and Chris Paul in New Orleans, till next time.