The 2018-19 NBA season is not at its halfway point and the main focus for at least two teams has been the 2019 NBA Draft. The reason for this is one player, Zion Williamson. While teams are struggling, fans of the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns want their respective teams to tank in order to grab the Duke University standout. But who will win?
Zion Williamson is being labeled as the next LeBron James. While that may be a tough sell, there’s no denying the impact he could either ether the Suns or the Knicks in 2019.
On the Suns’ side of the coin, Zion Williamson will be a much-needed addition. His size (6-7, 285lbs) will give opposing defenses fits on the break and in transition. The only drawback with Williamson fitting with the Suns will be his inability to hit from three-point territory (14.3 percent). However, with a shooter like Devin Booker, the Suns may be able to hide Williamson’s’ weakness.
The Suns are a young squad looking to build their dynasty from the ground up much like the Golden State Warriors. In the 2018 NBA Draft, they selected Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 pick and he has put up solid numbers (15.6 points, 10.1 rebounds) in his rookie year. Now, it’s time to build around Ayton and Booker.
While the Suns could use a steady point guard, adding Williamson would give Phoenix their very own Big 3. Even with owner Robert Sarver threatening to move the team to either Vegas or Seattle, this could turn out to be an Oklahoma City type situation where the team went on to change the perception of their organization with winning.
The New York Knicks, on the other hand, are in dire need of a superstar. While the focus has been on Kristaps Porzingis leading the charge, his history of injuries has many in NYC doubting if he can ever become a true centerpiece. What’s left in New York are players who are highly paid role players, but none who are fit to become the face of the franchise. Zion Williamson could take that mantle.
What makes the Knicks an interesting destination is marketability.
Madison Square Garden is the NBA’s most storied arena. While the team has continued to suffer over the last 10 years, fans still flock the Garden in large numbers nightly. Imagine the boost if the Knicks can actually place a winning team on the floor?
With Tim Hardaway, Emmanuel Mudiay and possibly Porzingis, the Knicks will have a foursome to help usher in a new era. The question – is Williamson the real deal? And if he is, can he handle the Knicks faithful and what comes with the territory?
The New York Knicks have played host to some big talent along the years like Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony, and have nothing to show for it. Ewing was able to shoulder the load and the responsibility of losing while Anthony was shoved out the door for not doing enough. Where will Zion Williamson fall?
Here’s what this will boil down to. The Phoenix Suns are in tank mode and it may not be due to wanting to lose. The team is just not ready to win. The Suns resemble the Philadelphia 76ers while they were going through their “Trust the Process “phase. There were some rough times, but in the end, it all came together. The Phoenix Suns are now trading away their veteran talent for picks and youth while building towards a brighter future.
The Knicks’ roster is superior to the Suns this season, however, only find themselves a few games ahead in total wins. Injuries could be blamed, but when you have three players on the roster making over $12 million per, there are no excuses in any major market. Tanking may not be in the cards for the Knicks but should it be?
The Suns are going in the direction of a youth movement. The Knicks are still searching for an identity while shelling out big dollars. Will they pay Porzingis and Enes Kanter this offseason? Can the Phoenix Suns find a suitable PG to play alongside Booker and Ayton? While each team ponders those questions, Zion Williamson is waiting.