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What To Expect From Rookie Zion Williamson

As far as we’re concerned: fun

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Memphis Grizzlies v New Orleans Pelicans
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 14: Ja Morant (L) of the Memphis Grizzlies and Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans greet each other on the court during warmups before a semifinal game of the 2019 NBA Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The has an article up looking at what we can expect from Zion Williamson’s rookie year.

The writer suggests that Williamson may be the last option offensively as a rookie. That’s possible.

Certainly he’ll be playing with more experienced players and a lot of depth. The depth chart for New Orleans from the article:

  • PG: Jrue Holiday, Lonzo Ball, Frank Jackson
  • SG: JJ Redick, E’Twaun Moore, Josh Hart, Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  • SF: Brandon Ingram, Darius Miller, Kenrich Williams
  • PF: Zion Williamson, Nicolò Melli
  • C: Derrick Favors, Jaxson Hayes, Jahlil Okafor

The funny thing is that Williamson could legitimately play any position for at least a period of time. His ball handling, which is pretty good, might not allow him to play the point for extended minutes, but could he do it in short bursts? Sure he could. And if Draymond Green can play center, we don't see any reason why Williamson couldn’t (although his three point shooting isn’t anywhere near Green’s at this point in his career if again for relatively short stretches.

People understandably focus on the physical talent but there are two things about him that intrigue as much if not more. First, he’s a much more skilled player than people realize. He’s at a minimum a competent ballhandler. Secondly, he is a humble teammate. He doesn’t demand priority or anything. He just fits into what the team needs - which also underscores our periodic comments about his emotional intelligence.

So the theory here might be right but it’s still limited. And even if he is the fifth option and gets an easy intro into NBA ball, here’s something else about Williamson, which the article alludes to briefly: he plays with immense energy which allows him to create for himself. How many times did we see him strip someone, grab and stuff a rebound or block a shot and start a break?

And as far as the Pelicans are concerned, the best thing is that he’ll just fit around whatever is already there because he doesn’t need to be the star, even if that’s what he ends up being.

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