Knicks legend Charles Oakley drops completely bonkers take on Pelicans star Zion Williamson
Oakley said Monday during an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio Williamson himself is not the product of anything spectacular and also claimed Knicks All-Star Julius Randle is a better version of the young Pelicans stud. Oakley suggested Zion’s success is due in part to lackluster defensive effort:
“(Zion) ain’t doing nothing special,” Oakley said, via Diamond Leung of The Athletic. “He’s just putting the ball down, guys they don’t slide no more. They reach in and then look behind like, ‘Oh, I thought I had help.’ There ain’t no help. Keep him in front for 2-3 dribbles, you might have help.”
Wait, what? This certainly isn’t a great way to recruit Zion to New York.
Oakley seems to suggest on-ball defenders can have success guarding Williamson if they simply stay in front of the Pelicans All-Star. But that has been incredibly different for opposing forwards.
Williamson has spent an increasing amount of time on the ball as a point forward, of sorts. He has the size and strength to power through contact while also having the explosiveness to blow right past defenders. That combination of size and athleticism is what made Williamson so enticing as a draft prospect in 2019. He has put the attributes to good use this season.
The former Duke star is averaging 27.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists through 55 games. The Pelicans star is shooting a ridiculous 61.7 percent from the field. It’s not as if he is getting uncontested baskets left and right.
Williamson routinely finishes through contact at the basket. He exploits switches in pick-and-roll, blowing past hedges and hunting points in the paint.
Oakley comes from a different era. He likely feels defenders need to give the body and be more physical with Williamson. However, that is a massive ask considering Williamson’s explosiveness and skill on the ball.