For those of us who had the chance to watch Zion Williamson at Duke last season, in person, the arguments that he wouldn't make it in the NBA seemed ludicrous.
We saw a guy with profound athletic gifts but also a guy who, at 6-6 and 285, had guard skills. And he had two other qualities that were immensely impressive. First, his feel for the game, his basketball intelligence, was off the charts. And second, his emotional intelligence, his ability to excite a team, to bring it together, was just amazing.
So after just a partial NBA season, people are realizing what Duke fans knew last year: in his own way, the guy is as unusual as Larry Bird, Michael Jordan or Muggsy Bogues.
And discerning fans realize this too. As impressive as he’s been, we never got the sense that he was fully back to what we saw at Duke. He was sufficiently recovered from his injury to dazzle, particularly on offense, but he never seemed to be fully back on defense, where you have to anticipate and react. You just can’t impose yourself in the same way. Keep an eye on that moving forward.