Who’s Next?: Zion Williamson

By Eric Gould’19 and Domenic Casparriello ’19

With LeBron’s career coming to an end in the next couple of years, and other star players aging, there are questions as to who will be the next best player to come in professional basketball. Duke basketball star Zion Williamson is a candidate to take this role in the NBA in the decade to come.

Williamson stands at 6’7” and weighs in at 285 pounds. Known for his high flying dunks and freakish athleticism, along with a 40 inch vertical, this forward will likely quickly become a star in the NBA. To put his frame into perspective, he only weighs 9 pounds less than Shaquille O’Neal, and he weighs about 40 pounds more than Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack. The only player that would be heavier than Williamson if he were in the NBA right now would be 7’3” Boban Marjanovic.

Williamson attended Spartanburg Day School in South Carolina, where he led his team to three state titles during his high school career.

Williamson got many offers right out of high school. He received offers from 28 different schools. He only met with four, including Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and UCLA. Among these offers was a football scholarship from LSU to play tight end.

Williamson has the potential to be a top 5 pick in the 2019 NBA draft after being a one and done player at Duke. He currently averages 25.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game.

The only aspect of Williamson’s game that people sniff at is his outside jump shot. Some are worried that this weak part of his game will be apparent in the NBA. However, similarly to LeBron, he can form this part of his game as his career goes on. Even with these critics, Williamson occasionally shines and hits these jumpers from the outside. As of right now, he doesn’t even need to develop this skill as he can dominate at the rim during his college season.

Now, who will get him? Forbes created “An Early 2019 NBA Mock Draft” where the top five picks are:

1. Atlanta Hawks
2. Boston Celtics
3. Chicago Bulls
4. Phoenix Suns
5. New York Knicks

Forbes believes that Williamson will go to the Knicks at the number five spot, where he would play alongside Kristaps Porzingis and upcoming star Kevin Knox. If this ends up being the case, the Knicks could become a scary Eastern Conference team in a couple of years.

But, let’s be honest, wherever Williamson will go, he will most likely succeed. His athleticism and frame make him a one of a kind player who the world has really never seen before. People thought we would never see an athlete similar to LeBron in 2003, who was listed at 240 pounds and 6’8”. Look out in a couple of years for Williamson’s name to be at the top of the headlines, potentially leading an NBA team to multiple titles.