The Rise of Zion Williamson


Nick Redd, Sports Writer

The 2019-2020 NBA season is already half-way done, as the all-star break just came to wraps on February 21st. This season has lived up to the “hype,” per-say, as the 2019-2020 draft class is living up to their expectations. In general, many seem to think that the amount of young talent in the NBA is laughable, as teenagers who lack any sort of professional qualifications in the sport are competing against, and beating, some of the best basketball players in the world. One of these teenagers is Zion Williamson, a six-foot-six, two hundred eighty-four pounds small and power forward for the New Orleans Pelicans. He was the projected number one pick going into the 2019-2020 draft, and that prediction has thus far been confirmed. He was drafted number first overall and has proved worthy of this title. He did not start the season at the same level as the rest of his league, as he missed the first twenty games due to a torn meniscus as a result of a summer league game. Zion bounced back from this injury, however, as he dropped twenty-two points(seventeen in a row) during his debut game, and made an indomitable impact for his team. Since this rather memorable game, he has been working to meet his heightened expectations as a talented rookie. He is now the first player in the last thirty years to score at least twenty points in seven of his first nine games. 

In addition to his already exceptional skill, Zion is currently on a streak of scoring at least twenty points in twelve consecutive games. This streak is considered rather impressive, as it is the most consecutive games with twenty points in NBA history. He surpassed Carmelo Anthony’s 2004 record, which endured nine straight games. It is also important to note that, if his streak continues, Zion will be on pace to be one of two players in NBA history to average more than twenty-four points per game while playing fewer than thirty-one minutes per game. The only other player who has ever done this is the reigning MVP of the league,  Giannis Antetokounmpo. One could say that Zion almost has taken the league by storm, as NBA superstars have expressed their excitement over Zion’s game. Lebron James, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, was asked about the young superstar last year during the all-star break in Charlotte. He said, “His ability to jump well beyond the ten-foot rim in incredible, What’s also incredible is at his size, his speed, agility, and quickness – he really is the complete player. What makes him even better is how great of a kid he is, he is humble about the fact that he gets to play the game that he loves every day, I love everything about him from the outside looking in, I’ve never met him, but he keeps things straightforward. The future of the NBA is in great hands with guys like Zion.” 

Even here in the Friends community, Zion has made many lasting impressions on the student body. Connor Satterfield ‘20 had much to say about his game, “Zion Williamson a 285-pound man can get off the ground like it is nothing, making a fool of guys the same height. I watched him play at Duke last year, and not knowing much about the NBA I know he will make an impact for years to come. Even watching this year, I can tell he will have a long-lasting and successful NBA career as long as he avoids injury.” Zion plays next on Sunday, against the Timberwolves. Hopefully, he continues to make strides in the right direction and continue on his successful path.