NOBODY is Noticing THIS About Zion Williamson In The NBA Preseason (Ft. Lonzo Ball, Dunks, IQ)
Zion Williamson has been domination NBA Preseason, but there’s more to Zion than just his dunks and athleticism. #NBA #Zion #Pelicans
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Zion has been dominant in preseason. He’s already taking bodies. His last game he dropped 29 points on 92% from the field in 27 minutes. It’s almost as if no one can stop him so I wanted to break all this down. Drop a like for the amount of lobs Lonzo is about to throw Zion, 6143.
The NBA has become a league where players are expected to do a bit of everything. Forwards and big men are expected to shoot from the perimeter. NBA Twitter bullied Ben Simmons into taking a 3. They’re expected to be able to dribble a bit, to stay with guards on the perimeter, and at the same time bang down low and finish at a solid rate. Don’t get me wrong, if you can add more parts to your game, that’s great, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of other parts.
If you look at Zion’s shot chart, he isn’t one of those players that is a jack of all trades. Some people have a problem with Zion taking all his shots inside the paint, but I see it as a good thing. Look at this shot chart.Out of 1229 shots, 1090 came from the paint, who was this? That’s Shaq from 2001-02. Look at this one from a player last season. You can see that there are shots around the whole court, but everything is focused on the paint. This player took 1248 shots in total and 912 of them came from the paint. Who is this? That’s Giannis Antekounmpo. Zion’s exceptional in one area and that’s what makes him special, because he is focused on pushing that one area to the max.
We all know that Zion’s vertical is crazy, he was measured to have a 45 inch vertical with a weight of 285 pounds. What stands out more is his speed and in particular, his acceleration. With a weight of 285 pounds, he’s heavier than guys like Joel Embiid who’s 249 pounds. Zion’s 6’ 6” and he’s moving as fast as a guard. What that does is create an incredible amount of force. Forget the vertical for a second. The Wall Street Journal analyzed Zion’s speed and said the force of taking a charge from him is similar to a head-on collision with a Jeep traveling 10 miles per hour. We’re seeing that NBA players aren’t able to stay with Zion, especially when Zion gets a 2 step headstart. The defenses are sagging off him, daring him to shoot, but in doing that, they are actually giving him just the space he needs to accelerate, and then players are just bouncing off him.
Now Zion is a creative finisher, he still is using his left hand only, but he brings the ball low and out, then brings it up. His hangtime allows him to do so much with the ball in the air before putting it in the hoop which is special. What wasn’t expected was Zion’s off-ball movement. Zion is in the right place at the right time and that isn’t luck. He’s moving around, always ready for the pass. His first step is so quick that if he gets free for a second, it’s enough for him to explode. And Lonzo has been moving the ball around to everyone. In fact, this Lonzo and Zion pairing seems to be working well because Zion is a willing off-ball mover and Lonzo is a willing passer wanting to get his teammates involved. That sort of culture is contagious and so Lonzo inspires a lot more movement from everyone along with unselfishness. The main point here is that Zion sticks to his game. Shooting 12-13 all from the paint is a sign that he knows what he’s good at and how to be effective. And he’s extremely confident in that ability.
But the one part of his game that no one is talking about and something I said last year is his playmaking. Players do need some sort of secondary skill or basically insurance if the defense goes all in to stop what they are best at. If defenses came at Shaq or if Shaq was getting fouled with no foul call, he would use his soft touch around the paint to shoot some post hooks over the defense, meaning he didn’t have to only dunk it. With Zion, it’s his ability to make quick decisions when he gets the ball. Zion is unselfish, but more than that, he’s using his gravity to actually make plays for others.
These are all efficient plays. Zion isn’t holding on to the ball and looking for an opportunity to pop up, he going and creating the opportunity after 1 or 2 dribbles. And these are split second decisions that he’s making as he reads the defense. Zion is more than just a finisher and it compliments his finishing game.
Zion’s using his athleticism in the right ways, but in case he’s getting stopped from crashing inside the paint, he’s making the right decisions instead of forcing the issue. How will Zion do this season? Will he be the rookie of the year?