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A thousand things may happen between now and the 2019 NBA draft, but I cannot get Zion Williamson out of my mind. The Celtics hold the Kings first-round draft pick, and Sacramento has started the season 1-3. This kid is something college basketball has not seen in memory, and the Celtics having a possible shot at him in the next draft is damn exciting.

I first saw Zion as a high-school senior while attending the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He didn't play in the tournament due to injury, but my view of him suggested that his weight-to-height ratio would exclude him from the NBA. He was too big and heavy for his height. I was horribly wrong.

Zion was high-scorer for Duke last night versus Virginia Union with 29 points on 11-of-13 from the field and 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. He added six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and one steal. Most of us have only seen this kid flying above the rim for spectacular dunks, but he is quick, moves his feet well on offense, and is able to get the ball to the open man at the right spot and the right time.


Williamson is difficult to describe simply because I recall no one quite like him. He has been referred to as a bumbebee, because bumblebees are not supposed to fly - and neither is Zion. But they both do fly. Here is Duke Basketball Report's J. D. King:

And some day, it’s possible that we’ll turn to young people and say, something like this: “kid, I saw Zion Williamson block a shot when he was three feet behind the guy,” or “kid, I saw Zion catch the ball and dunk it so hard it could have gone through a second time.”

Parts of this you can bank right now because Williamson, partly due to his powerful build and partly due to a remarkably high basketball intelligence, has a game like literally no one else.

He’s an immense physical talent of course and he pounces like nobody’s business. When Coach K said that he was really a guard it was kind of hard to swallow because the guy is 6-6 and 270. He could be a Hall of Fame football player at linebacker, receiver, halfback, quarterback, who the hell knows. Football could be his plaything.

So what position will he play in the NBA? Based on what I have seen, the answer is he may be able to play all five positions. Duke's Coach K calls him a guard, but I could easily see him as a small-ball center. We all know this could all fail. There is always the chance he could be a bust in the NBA. But for right now, I am tracking two things here. The Sacramento King's record and Williamson's play for Duke. If it all comes together, the Celtics may land one of the most-talented, and most unusual prospects in their history. In the meantime, watch the kid play. You won't believe what he can do.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images





Tom Lane 10/24/2018 03:14:00 PM Edit
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