Time for some preseason overreactions: Zion Williamson is already going to be an All-Star in his rookie season.
This year’s no. 1 overall pick has looked as good as advertised – and then some – in his preseason debut so far. Williamson opened his NBA career against the Atlanta Hawks where he scored 16 points, grabbed seven boards, and nabbed away three steals.
In their following contest against the Chicago Bulls, Williamson finished with a game-high 29 points, four rebounds, and four assists. He made a living in the paint where he made 12-of-13 from the field all within 3-feet from the basket.
In their most recent preseason outing against the Utah Jazz, the 19-year old dropped 26 points and five rebounds and shot 9-of-12 from the field. He even converted his lone attempt from beyond the arc and made a couple of difficult shots over reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert.
We’ve seen snippets of the full arsenal from Williamson throughout the preseason. He made plays for himself and for his teammates, drove to the basket, ran the fastbreak, took bigger and slower defenders of the dribble, and bullied his way to cup. Of course, the highlight dunks were there, too; that would never go away with Zion.
New Orleans also featured him as a ball-handler at times where he got the rebound and brought the ball up the floor and initiated the offense. For the most part, Williamson made his impact inside the paint off of cuts and drives to the basket.
Sure, people could dismiss this as just preseason. But look at the numbers, especially in his last two; he’s averaging 27.5 PPG while shooting 84 percent from the field (21-of-25). It doesn’t matter if it’s preseason, that’s impressive stuff right there.
If his preseason is any indication of how his rookie season will go, then we might as well pencil him in for the All-Star Game in February 2020. He’s already a fan favorite among the people.
The man is a walking highlight reel and fans do love their highlights. His frequent appearances in the NBA’s Top 10 Plays should make him known to casual fans in no time.
However, the main obstacle for Williamson to have a realistic shot at being named to the All-Star team is the fact that he’s playing in the Western Conference. The West is loaded with elite forwards and centers such as LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic, and Anthony Davis, to name a few. It’ll be difficult to put the 19-year old ahead of them.
If he’s in the East, there’s no need to speculate his chances. Just lock him in already.
Nevertheless, being an All-Star does not necessarily mean that he’ll officially play in February’s annual showcase of stars. It just means he’s going to play at that level this early in his career.
And that’s scary for the rest of The Association.