The Duke-University of North Carolina game that took place on Wednesday night was slated to be a big one. With names like Barak Obama in attendance, the whole world was watching to see how the matchup between two iconic college basketball powerhouses and rivals would shake down.
Sadly, though, right after tip-off and less than a minute in, viewers and spectators didn’t get the type of excitement they were looking for. Instead, everyone saw Duke’s sensational freshman, Zion Williamson, blowout the bottom of his shoe and subsequently leave the game due to injury. It appears that Zion many not have hurt himself badly, as Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has since labeled it a mild knee sprain.
It was a scary moment for Zion Williamson, who is the consensus number one overall pick and franchise-savior-to-be headed toward the 2019 NBA Draft. With the injury possibly not being severe enough to sideline him through much of the remaining NCAA season or be an injury he will carry into the pros, it may not affect his draft stock. However, there is very little that could happen that should dissuade any team from taking him first overall.
In the fall of 2017 we saw the beginning of a similar situation. Mizzou freshman Michael Porter Jr. was forced to miss the majority of his season, barely suiting up for his college team until later in the tournament. After receiving MVP of the McDonald’s All-American game in high school and sitting at the top of mock drafts for an extended period of time, his injury put just enough doubt in the head of NBA GM’s.
Porter ended up being skipped by team after team and fell all the way to the Denver Nuggets, who drafted him with the 14th overall pick. It could very well turn out to be a steal for Denver, and it put the rookie in a place where there is no pressure to rush back to the court until healthy, but at the end of the day, it still caused him to miss out on a significant amount of money.
Zion’s injury is likely not quite as severe at all as Michael Porter Jr.’s was, but even still, he is an entirely different type of prospect. While Porter was very highly touted coming out of high school, there were still other players, like Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, and even Trae Young as the year went on, that occupied consideration of being selected first overall. This time around, the answer for all 30 NBA franchises if they received the number one pick, would almost assuredly be Zion Williamson.
Not only does he appear to be a uniquely skilled player, Zion Williamson just looks different from everyone else on a college court. A rare combination of size and quickness, his potential in the NBA shouldn’t be passed up by any league front office.
There is strong belief that he could be the next generational talent and is already showing signs that he is a one of a kind player. In a league dominated by the Lebron James, Joel Embiids, and Giannis Antetokounmpos, who are just built differently, Zion is exactly the type of player you want on your team.