The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread

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The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#1 » by clyde21 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:26 am

discuss his rookie year here
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The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#2 » by NO-KG-AI » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:49 am

A fat, out of shape, rookie/teenager with no basketball skills going 12/13 for 29 points in his second outing.


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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#3 » by Ron Swanson » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:36 pm

His body control and handle in combination with his size and athleticism is remarkable. It's why I can't fathom how anyone who watches basketball can look at him as just some raw , unskilled athlete.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#4 » by eminence » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:38 pm

Killing it on offense so far, awareness on D needs work, but that'll improve (though I'm a bit concerned it'll never be the level I was hoping for from Super-Rodman).
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#5 » by E-Balla » Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:45 pm

People are finally seeing his playmaking I've been raving about.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#6 » by 70sFan » Thu Oct 10, 2019 4:51 pm

Yeah guy showed some nice feel for the game. Way too early to call him another ATG, but he has more potential than just raw athleticism.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#7 » by yoyoboy » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:01 pm

From what I've seen so far...

+ Insane paint gravity and finishing: I have absolutely no worries about Zion being able to finish against NBA length. He may be undersized (in height and length obviously) but he's just too quick off the floor and his power allows him to bounce defenders off him and get himself less contested shots. Just as impressive has been his body control and touch around the rim though. Yesterday he had several layups that showed off the kind of finesse rare from guys his size. And just the threat of him cutting (which he's been doing a lot) and getting lobs scares the sh- out of defenses.

+ Collapsing the defense and making the right pass: This isn't surprising if you watched him at Duke. Zion is a willing passer and he's smart when it comes to using his gravity to create open looks. It's not often you see Zion forcing shots, and the difference in decision making between him and a guy like Ingram has been so evident so far. You would never think that Zion is the rookie between them.

+ Playing the passing lanes: Zion is a monstrous free safety of a defender. Teams, despite being well aware of how absurdly athletic Zion is, still seem to overestimate the windows that they're trying to sneak the ball through when Zion is in the vicinity. He's so disruptive in the same way that Draymond is, due to how quickly he covers ground and he's great at anticipating the passes. Zion also can play well off his defender on the 3 point line to help shut off drives because of his ability to still contest a shot even when his man is about to catch the ball 10 feet away.

+ Ability to draw fouls: This guy could be top 5 in FTA per game his first year in the league. He just overwhelms defenders with his almost violent physicality. He's hit on 60% of his free throws in the preseason thus far, which is pretty expected given his 64% rate at Duke, so you'd hope he can improve on that going forward.

+ Dribbling: Zion doesn't have the dribbling ability to consistently face up isolate in the pros, but he's an underrated dribbler who will take advantage of it at the PF spot. There were a few instances yesterday that left me wondering how he didn't lose the ball in traffic. He has a great control of the ball when it's low to the floor.


- Perimeter defense: So far he's having a difficult time keeping his man from getting into the paint. Usually it's because he's playing too far off his man and he goes for the contest but gets driven past before he has time to stop himself. Another tendency is navigating screens in a poor fashion and sort of taking himself out of the action. I'm not too worried about these two things. At the end of the last game Zion admitted he has to watch film and be more aware. He doesn't lack the instincts; he just looked like a rookie who's learning you have less margin for error at the NBA level than you do in college when your peers lack the athleticism to consistently make you pay for bad habits. One thing that does concern me however is his clunky footwork on the perimeter, which makes him prone to getting taken off the dribble. In college, this was rarely much of a problem because he would let them get that step on him and then chase them down for the block, but NBA guards are usually quicker, longer, and better at using their body to seal the defender behind them and finish. This is definitely what separates him from a guy like Draymond, who was called the "Dancing Bear" in college because of quickly and how well he was able to move his feet and keep players in front of him.

- Conditioning: He was noticeably huffing and puffing yesterday. Forget who it was, but someone on the Bulls even teased him about it during a stop in play. This isn't surprising. It'll take some time for him to get into midseason form. It definitely had an effect on him in terms of his motor because he didn't look as active defensively as he was at Duke. This isn't a major concern (yet anyways), but it is something to look out for going forward and it'd probably be ideal for him to shed about 10 pounds.

- Rim protection: I'm not sure Zion is going to be the rim protector a lot of people thought he would be coming out of college. I'm aware a big part of why he hasn't been coming over for blocks from the weak side and getting in contests in the paint is most likely because he's not in game shape yet. However, I already had doubts about his rim protection translating due to his lack of length. Draymond is an undersized big but even he has a standing reach 3 inches longer. When it comes to rim protection, length helps you out a lot more than leaping ability does because you only have so much time to react to shot attempts in the paint and it takes a lot less time to put your hands up than it does to jump off the floor.

- Shooting: We already knew this was a weak spot for Zion. In 2 games he's attempted just 2 threes and he missed both. I don't remember him attempting a midrange shot, but maybe I missed it. Honestly, I think he's similar to Giannis in that right now, it's not going to hurt him that much just because he generates off ball gravity in other ways. As time goes on, it'll obviously be important for him to at least be able to hit the open three in order to keep the defense honest.


+/- Rebounding: He hasn't looked as effective on the boards thus far as he was in school. Even with his length disadvantage at this level, he has the size to carve up space and box out effectively, the vertical to sky high for rebounds, and the knack for anticipating where the ball will end up. Just as important as the other things though, he's always had an impressive motor, and that's probably what's hurting him most right now since he has some conditioning work to do. I wouldn't call this a positive or a negative. He'll most likely be able to make an impact on the offensive glass in due time. I don't think he'll be a dominant defensive rebounder, but he'll probably be good enough.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#8 » by clyde21 » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:06 pm

^ good breakdown, I think the conditioning and stamina need a lot of work obviously, we'll start seeing better results defensively and on the boards when he's in mid season form I think

getting those rebounds and getting out in trans is gonna be his bread and butter.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#9 » by NO-KG-AI » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:28 pm

If he can't get into game shape with the minutes, touches, motor, and pace we play at, he is a lost cause in the weight department. :lol:
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#10 » by Sark » Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:21 pm

We are all witnesses.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#11 » by PockyCandy » Fri Oct 11, 2019 1:33 am

My mother on Zion Williamson (paraphrasing):

I was impressed with him. He doesn't just dunk........he can dribble and pass and he can move without the ball. He can't shoot but he still seems very skilled. His defense wasn't very good.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#12 » by _Game7_ » Fri Oct 11, 2019 2:19 am

Very impressed so far, you can tell right away he will be a special player, like once in a generation type.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#13 » by AussieBuck » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:22 am

He's a different shaped Giannis.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#14 » by Duke4life831 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:29 am

Some guys are just different. I get how some people think how can an overweight 6'7 PF that doesn't shoot well be a star in this league. But it really doesn't take long after actually watching him play a full game (not just the highlights) where you kind of just sit back and say to yourself, "oh ya whatever it is, this dude has it and he just has that special something about his game."
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#15 » by zimpy27 » Fri Oct 11, 2019 7:33 am

yoyoboy wrote:From what I've seen so far...

+ Insane paint gravity and finishing: I have absolutely no worries about Zion being able to finish against NBA length. He may be undersized (in height and length obviously) but he's just too quick off the floor and his power allows him to bounce defenders off him and get himself less contested shots. Just as impressive has been his body control and touch around the rim though. Yesterday he had several layups that showed off the kind of finesse rare from guys his size. And just the threat of him cutting (which he's been doing a lot) and getting lobs scares the sh- out of defenses.

+ Collapsing the defense and making the right pass: This isn't surprising if you watched him at Duke. Zion is a willing passer and he's smart when it comes to using his gravity to create open looks. It's not often you see Zion forcing shots, and the difference in decision making between him and a guy like Ingram has been so evident so far. You would never think that Zion is the rookie between them.

+ Playing the passing lanes: Zion is a monstrous free safety of a defender. Teams, despite being well aware of how absurdly athletic Zion is, still seem to overestimate the windows that they're trying to sneak the ball through when Zion is in the vicinity. He's so disruptive in the same way that Draymond is, due to how quickly he covers ground and he's great at anticipating the passes. Zion also can play well off his defender on the 3 point line to help shut off drives because of his ability to still contest a shot even when his man is about to catch the ball 10 feet away.

+ Ability to draw fouls: This guy could be top 5 in FTA per game his first year in the league. He just overwhelms defenders with his almost violent physicality. He's hit on 60% of his free throws in the preseason thus far, which is pretty expected given his 64% rate at Duke, so you'd hope he can improve on that going forward.

+ Dribbling: Zion doesn't have the dribbling ability to consistently face up isolate in the pros, but he's an underrated dribbler who will take advantage of it at the PF spot. There were a few instances yesterday that left me wondering how he didn't lose the ball in traffic. He has a great control of the ball when it's low to the floor.


- Perimeter defense: So far he's having a difficult time keeping his man from getting into the paint. Usually it's because he's playing too far off his man and he goes for the contest but gets driven past before he has time to stop himself. Another tendency is navigating screens in a poor fashion and sort of taking himself out of the action. I'm not too worried about these two things. At the end of the last game Zion admitted he has to watch film and be more aware. He doesn't lack the instincts; he just looked like a rookie who's learning you have less margin for error at the NBA level than you do in college when your peers lack the athleticism to consistently make you pay for bad habits. One thing that does concern me however is his clunky footwork on the perimeter, which makes him prone to getting taken off the dribble. In college, this was rarely much of a problem because he would let them get that step on him and then chase them down for the block, but NBA guards are usually quicker, longer, and better at using their body to seal the defender behind them and finish. This is definitely what separates him from a guy like Draymond, who was called the "Dancing Bear" in college because of quickly and how well he was able to move his feet and keep players in front of him.

- Conditioning: He was noticeably huffing and puffing yesterday. Forget who it was, but someone on the Bulls even teased him about it during a stop in play. This isn't surprising. It'll take some time for him to get into midseason form. It definitely had an effect on him in terms of his motor because he didn't look as active defensively as he was at Duke. This isn't a major concern (yet anyways), but it is something to look out for going forward and it'd probably be ideal for him to shed about 10 pounds.

- Rim protection: I'm not sure Zion is going to be the rim protector a lot of people thought he would be coming out of college. I'm aware a big part of why he hasn't been coming over for blocks from the weak side and getting in contests in the paint is most likely because he's not in game shape yet. However, I already had doubts about his rim protection translating due to his lack of length. Draymond is an undersized big but even he has a standing reach 3 inches longer. When it comes to rim protection, length helps you out a lot more than leaping ability does because you only have so much time to react to shot attempts in the paint and it takes a lot less time to put your hands up than it does to jump off the floor.

- Shooting: We already knew this was a weak spot for Zion. In 2 games he's attempted just 2 threes and he missed both. I don't remember him attempting a midrange shot, but maybe I missed it. Honestly, I think he's similar to Giannis in that right now, it's not going to hurt him that much just because he generates off ball gravity in other ways. As time goes on, it'll obviously be important for him to at least be able to hit the open three in order to keep the defense honest.


+/- Rebounding: He hasn't looked as effective on the boards thus far as he was in school. Even with his length disadvantage at this level, he has the size to carve up space and box out effectively, the vertical to sky high for rebounds, and the knack for anticipating where the ball will end up. Just as important as the other things though, he's always had an impressive motor, and that's probably what's hurting him most right now since he has some conditioning work to do. I wouldn't call this a positive or a negative. He'll most likely be able to make an impact on the offensive glass in due time. I don't think he'll be a dominant defensive rebounder, but he'll probably be good enough.



So what separates him from Montrezl Harrell?

I think your assessment is right. He plays like an energy big right now.

How do we see a path for him being a superstar if he isn't the prime playmaker or prime defender?

If he can improve defense and passing to the point that he has an above-average game all around while being an elite finisher does that make him a superstar? What is an example of this?
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#16 » by Gooner » Fri Oct 11, 2019 8:08 am

Ron Swanson wrote:His body control and handle in combination with his size and athleticism is remarkable. It's why I can't fathom how anyone who watches basketball can look at him as just some raw , unskilled athlete.


He is only 6'6''.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#17 » by NbaAllDay » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:24 am

Duplicate*
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#18 » by NbaAllDay » Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:25 am

Gooner wrote:
Ron Swanson wrote:His body control and handle in combination with his size and athleticism is remarkable. It's why I can't fathom how anyone who watches basketball can look at him as just some raw , unskilled athlete.


He is only 6'6''.


No one currently is his size and weight and seemingly this athletic with that kind of body control. Weight being the key factor here. So his point still obviously stands.

Weird comment to pick on.
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#19 » by Mazter » Fri Oct 11, 2019 3:09 pm

yoyoboy wrote:From what I've seen so far...
- Perimeter defense: So far he's having a difficult time keeping his man from getting into the paint. Usually it's because he's playing too far off his man and he goes for the contest but gets driven past before he has time to stop himself. Another tendency is navigating screens in a poor fashion and sort of taking himself out of the action. I'm not too worried about these two things. At the end of the last game Zion admitted he has to watch film and be more aware. He doesn't lack the instincts; he just looked like a rookie who's learning you have less margin for error at the NBA level than you do in college when your peers lack the athleticism to consistently make you pay for bad habits. One thing that does concern me however is his clunky footwork on the perimeter, which makes him prone to getting taken off the dribble. In college, this was rarely much of a problem because he would let them get that step on him and then chase them down for the block, but NBA guards are usually quicker, longer, and better at using their body to seal the defender behind them and finish. This is definitely what separates him from a guy like Draymond, who was called the "Dancing Bear" in college because of quickly and how well he was able to move his feet and keep players in front of him.

- Conditioning: He was noticeably huffing and puffing yesterday. Forget who it was, but someone on the Bulls even teased him about it during a stop in play. This isn't surprising. It'll take some time for him to get into midseason form. It definitely had an effect on him in terms of his motor because he didn't look as active defensively as he was at Duke. This isn't a major concern (yet anyways), but it is something to look out for going forward and it'd probably be ideal for him to shed about 10 pounds.

I saw him huffing and puffing at Duke now and then, so for me it's not a surprise. I always thought that his weight would be his major problem in the NBA. No matter how big your motor is, it's a lot to carry around on the court at an NBA pace. I mean, at Duke he played about 54.9 possessions per game at a 87.7/48 minute pace. These 2 games he played 68.5 possessions at a 119.41/48 pace. That's a huge difference. This is playing only for the first 3.5 quarters with a lack on perimeter D. Add tot that the heavier schedule...
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Re: The 2019-2020 Zion Williamson thread 

Post#20 » by limbo » Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:12 pm

zimpy27 wrote:How do we see a path for him being a superstar if he isn't the prime playmaker or prime defender?


This is a very good point i've been wrestling with myself, and you can add the fact that he's a weak outside shooter to it. In my view, that puts a ceiling on how good he can be offensively without significant improvements in those areas.

I've been impressed with his off-ball movement, offensive awareness and it's evident he's got a soft touch for finishing around the rim (aided tremendously by his insane athleticism and strength), but if the way he's playing so far in the preseason is any indication of the future, it's hard for me to see him having elite impact when he's not even being used as a catalyst offensively.

I like how Gentry's using him in the halfcourt, though. They have him staying on the weakside waiting for a screen and then just run around the screen and attack the basket with momentum. It's very hard to stop him when he has space to drive into the paint and he can make the smart pass from there if he can't finish himself.

That's basically all he did in the halfcourt vs the Bulls, and some improvised cuts to the basket. Good teams will adjust their defense and take that play away, and shooting 12/13 is an anomaly (also it's preseason vs. the Bulls...). Once that is countered, how many tools does Zion have left? He can't shoot. He can't consistently penetrate from the perimeter with his size and weight (+ defense playing him loose because he can't shoot).He makes smart passes but he's not an elite playmaker, he's not a threat to run pick and rolls. He's not really a post player either. He can bully smaller matchups occasionally, but he can't consistently score from the post due to his size and limited arsenal.

Compared to rookie LeBron. Bron was slimmer which meant he had better motor/stamina, was faster and more nimble, thus a more reliable driving threat. Bron was also taller, which means it's harder to contest his shots (Zion is not only guard-sized, but also has a shot that is slow and has a low release point - dude got blocked like three times in Summer League attempting normal shots). LeBron was a better playmaker (although Zion is also impressive, no doubt). And most importantly, LeBron actually had an outside shot. Granted it was very inconsistent but he could still effectively punish teams with it every other game. Zion doesn't even attempt to shoot if he's not completely open for the most part. LeBron's early shooting woes had a lot to due with poor shot selection, other minor kinks. Zion seems to be closer to needing to reconstruct his entire shooting form than anything else. Also, rookie Bron played in an era where 3-pt shots were still taken in moderation with a grain of salt. The league has a better understanding on how to exploit a weak outside shooter than it did in 2004...

I still believe Zion can be relatively efficient and effective if the Pelicans decide to play run and gun basketball. Defenses in the regular season are much more relaxed and indifferent. There's more transition opportunities where Zion is elite. That being said, it will be interesting to see how much the Pels decide to push the tempo and how the core of Zo/Jrue/Zion/Ingram will play off each other. What a set of characters, lmao... Zion can't shoot, Lonzo can't finish and Ingram can't pass the ball to save his life. Should be entertaining to say the least.

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