How Zion Williamson’s Athleticism is Changing the NBA

Zion Williamson has been on a tear since he made his debut this season. All the hype was surrounding the former Duke superstar coming into the season.

All eyes were on the 19-year-old after he was drafted No. 1 by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Williamson is on quest to help lead the Pelicans to the playoffs in his rookie season. From high school to college, Williamson has proved why he’s the best and he’s not slowing up. So how has the rookie dominated the league so far this year?

The path to the No. 1 pick

Zion Williamson caught the eyes of many people during his high school career. He took the internet by storm with his highlight videos.

His leaping abilities were out of this world for a kid his age and he already had a grown-man body.

When he got to Duke, there was no question that he would be one of the top players in the NCAA, and indeed he was. His efforts at Duke led him to become the ACC Player of the Year, ACC Athlete of the Year, and ACC Rookie of the Year. He also was the AP Player of the Year after one season of college basketball.

After a successful freshman campaign under Coach, it was evident that Williamson was headed for the draft.

Questions arose on how the phenom was going to fit in the NBA? Well let’s just say Williamson has quickly answered that question.

Zion Williamson’s NBA welcome

After missing much of the first half of the season due to a torn meniscus, Williamson made his NBA debut on January 22, 2020 and did not disappoint. He put up 22 points and seven rebounds, scoring 17 straight points during the fourth quarter.

The young man picked up where he left off at Duke, continuing to make his presence known on the floor in a variety of ways.

He has not shown any sign of slowing down either. On March 1, he had a career night against LeBron James and the Lakers, scoring 35 points.

Williamson is performing so well that he is in the conversation for Rookie of the Year, even though he missed most of the first half of the season.

How Zion Williamson’s athleticism sparks the Pelicans

Zion Williamson has improved his overall game and it has impacted the New Orleans Pelicans in a good way. Not only can he score in the paint, but there will be times where the rookie will launch from 3-point range and connect.

How can you guard him at that point? The strength that he possesses allows him to get to the rim and finish with contact. Williamson ranks third in free throw attempts per 36 minutes (10.6). That just shows his dominance going to the rim.

An area that the Pelicans have taken advantage of with Williamson is the fast break post-up. With Williamson’s speed, he can get down court quickly. With his strength, he can post up on his defender up before the defense gets set, and then you have two quick points. Playing on the block is going away in the NBA, but Zion’s skillset is changing the conversation.

As Williamson continues to improve his game, he will become one of the best in the league real soon.