Since entering the NBA, Zion Williamson has taken the league by storm. He has become one of the most promising young talents while placing a bright future ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans. However, not everyone has been impressed by his performance, as one former Knicks star levied some bizarre criticism toward him.
Zion Williamson continues promising start to his NBA career
In Zion Williamson‘s brief NBA career, he has quickly met the hype around him behind his promising production.
Williamson has quickly become an extremely viable offensive factor as he leads the Pelicans with 26.9 points per contest on 61.8% shooting from the floor along with 7.2 rebounds. Williamson is currently the only player averaging at least 26.0 points while shooting 60% from the field.
Since Feb. 3, Williamson has taken his production up a notch averaging 28.7 points on 63.3% shooting along with 7.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists. That includes him notching at least 20 points in 25 consecutive games, marking the longest streak in NBA history for a player younger than 21 years old.
His elite production has helped him earn his first All-Star game selection and likely garner his first All-NBA team nod. Despite his tremendous showing on the floor this early in his NBA career, Williamson recently received some strong outside criticism.
Zion Williamson left scratching his head after a former Knicks star’s bizarre criticism
Williamson’s swift ascension into NBA stardom has landed him plenty of praise around the league.
However, it hasn’t all been roses tossed toward the Duke product as former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley hasn’t been impressed. During an interview on SiriusXM Radio, Oakley heavily criticized Williamson’s style of play.
“[He] ain’t doing nothing special,” Oakley said via Diamond Leung of The Athletic. “He’s just putting the ball down. Guys they don’t slide no more. They reach in and then look behind like, ‘Oh, I thought I had help.’ There ain’t no help. Keep him in front for 2-3 dribbles, you might have help.”
Oakley also stated that Knicks All-Star Julius Randle is a “better version” of Williamson because he can do “more” on the floor. There may be some inherent bias from him, but it further underlines his disdain for Williamson’s game.
Although the 20-year-old certainly gets his fair share of points from his brute strength and lobs at the rim, he’s much more than that. He has become a bigger offensive threat by expanding his game with more outside shots.
There may be a firm reliance on his dominance in the paint, but it’s a formula that has worked for him. Oakley’s strong criticism may serve nothing more than further motivation for Williamson to prove him wrong with his play.
Pelicans’ future remains bright
The Pelicans are trekking through another season that will likely result in falling just shy of reaching the playoffs.
New Orleans is embracing the growth process behind their young core group led by Williamson and Brandon Ingram. The franchise holds a bright future with its rising stars, but it now becomes a matter of them taking the next step forward.
The front office must find their next star talent to join the fray to make that next leap into consistent playoff contention. Williamson’s continued ascension is promising, but it’s clear the Pelicans need much more than young talent to make legitimate noise in the Western Conference.