Community Shootaround: Zion Williamson

R.J. Barrett set the Duke record for most points by a freshman in his debut game last night, but on social media all the talk has been focused on his electrifying teammate, Zion Williamson.

Both players were impressive in their first taste of college basketball, with Barrett pouring in 33 points and Williamson adding 28 in a rout of Kentucky in the Champions Classic. But Williamson’s thunderous dunks and stunning athleticism for his 6’7″, 285-frame have captured the imagination of fans — including a few with NBA connections.

“I though LeBron [James] was a one-shot deal,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after seeing Williamson in action. “But apparently the next guy’s coming.”

“He’s very explosive, he’s very quick and he has a very large frame,” said Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr., who played for the Blue Devils last season. “That’s very rare. Not many people can guard that.”

More than 70 NBA personnel attended Tuesday’s game, which was preceded by a matchup between traditional powers Kansas and Michigan State. Adam Zagoria of FloHoops talked to a pair of unidentified scouts who raved about Williamson, but they were impressed by Barrett as well.

“Spectacular talent. No. 1 fan favorite,” one scout said of Williamson. “Great dunker, great explosion. Quick off his feet. Great strength. Surprisingly good passer. He’s a great basketball player. He showed that [Tuesday] night against some outstanding athletes.”

“He’ll end up being the best player in this draft,” the other scout said in assessing Barrett. “Versatile. Can score in three different ways. He can make the 3-pointer. He can get to the basket. He can shoot the mid-range. He’s got great positional size. Most dangerous in the open floor. If he were to come out, I think he’s the best all-around talent this year.”

Barrett, who already has international experience with Canada in the FIBA World Cup qualifiers, tops the latest mock draft compiled by Jonathan Givony of ESPN, which was put together in August. Givony slotted Williamson with the No. 3 pick and states that there’s much more to his game than spectacular dunks. He exhibited an ability to drive, pass and play defense during an exhibition tour, but some NBA executives they’re not convinced that he’ll be a dominant player at the next level.

We know college basketball season just started, but we want to get your opinion on Williamson. Do you believe he’s an NBA star in the making? Will he or Barrett be the top pick in June, or will that honor go to somebody else? Please leave your responses in the space below.

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11 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Zion Williamson

  1. dust44

    Zion will b a good NBA guy. Just don’t c him being as versatile as a #1 option in the NBA should b. That jump shot is UGLY

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  2. Ptn18

    The Cavs will get LeBron’s replacement anyway. See today’s Hoops Hypes for the 2019 aggregate NBA mock draft projections for ESPN, Bleacher Report, NBAdraft.net, The Athletic, Sports Illustrated, and the Sporting News. Lists their top 60 projections, I have the Duke basketball on tv in my favorites list.

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    • bush

      You know the draft is a lottery right? The worst record doesn’t guarantee the top pick. In fact the worst record only has a 25% chance for the top pick.

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    • bush

      You know the draft is a lottery right? The worst record only has a 25% chance for the top pick.

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  3. Z-A

    Barrett > Zion > Reddish and the next LBJ was drafted 2 years ago… name is Ben Simmons. Kerr must have forgotten about that.

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    • padam

      Except Ben couldn’t hit the side of a barn with his jump shot. Can’t even hit free throws. LBJ can and did when he was at that age.

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    • Simmons isn’t in the same galaxy as Bron. His shot looks like a 12 yr old little girls shot, and he doesn’t even practice 3 pointers in a league that’s built around 3 pointers. He’s way overrated.

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  4. Zion will be the #1, RJ #2 & Reddish #3, in this first game Zion was the better player by a huge margin, Reddish was better than RJ too, but not so sure in the long run. Zion will totally dominate the league is an absolute monster.

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  5. Zion will go No. 1 because of how NBA ready he is compared to the other two, it’s gonna take sometime for RJ and Cam to fill out. Zion on the other hand is gonna be busting players asses attacking the basket from say 1

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  6. formerlyz

    The question with Zion was his position in the NBA. He’s likely a 4 or small 5. Once he plays against stronger and faster guys, how does he adjust. Personally, I think this first game answers some of that, although in short sample. If his jumpshot is there, and he can put the ball on the floor the way he showed, he will be a superstar. I assume he’ll end up in the 270 range once he gets with NBA trainers. That’s the crazy part. He could end up being even more athletic. It’s hard for me to think of a modern comp for him

    I still have Barrett number 1 b/c I would consider him to be safer, but it’s still early, and this is a really good top 4-5. Barrett has some Tracy McGrady, and some LeBron in him. If he is able to shoot it from 3, he’s going to be really hard to guard, and I think he will be a really good passer as well.

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