With their 68-67 loss to Michigan State, Duke and Zion Williamson were eliminated from the NCAA tournament. Players as highly regarded as Zion don’t “need” to stay at their schools for more than a year. The NBA requires one season of college basketball. We got one of the best seasons ever from Zion. He averaged 22 and 9 while shooting 68% from the field. In his four tournament games, Zion scored 104 points, second most by any freshman. So whats next for Zion? (Other than being the #1 pick)
Zion has been in the spotlight since he was in high school, dunking on everyone. Basketball fans have been waiting for Zion to go the league for years now. The next time we see Zion playing, he will be in the NBA. Zion has been physically ready for the NBA for probably two years, his strength mixed with his ability to jump out of the gym is something we have never seen before, and is why he is so highly regarded. But Zion has weaknesses, and he is not going to be the perfect basketball player. The NBA today is so heavily dominated by dunks/layups and the three ball. Zion is already a master at dunking and finishing through contact, but his 3 ball could hurt him. Some people believe Zion will immediately make an impact in the NBA, which he might, but it’s not guaranteed.
Zion would benefit from getting drafted to a team that will help him grow and develop. Teams like the Suns, the Cavs, and the Knicks are in the hunt for the 1st overall pick, and we have seen them fail to develop their high draft picks into anything special. Devin Booker can score 50 points every night, but the Suns can’t put the pieces around him to win. The Knicks had Kristaps Porzingis but traded him to the Mavericks. The Cavs had LeBron James for about 10 years and won a single championship. These three teams have struggled in the recent past, and Zion would benefit from a more competent organization. The Hawks have a top five pick and would be a much better fit for Zion than the Knicks, Suns, or Cavs. Zion, Trae Young, and John Collins would be a big three to be reckoned with in 5 years or so.
As a basketball fan, I want to see Zion succeed, and I look forward to watching a long, healthy career. I would expect Zion to take a few years to really come into his own. He will take time to learn how to use his size and athleticism to his advantage. We have 87 days until the draft, And then we wait until October 22nd, then we finally get to see Zion in the NBA.