If you haven’t heard of Zion Williamson, then you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. You might be familiar with the names of Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and a few others, but Zion Williamson has yet to register. Understandably so, since Williamson is only in his second year of playing professional basketball in the NBA.
In his inaugural NBA season in 2020, there was much anticipation of big things to come. Alas, you could say it was a huge let down, though through no fault of his own. Marred by injury suffered by a Nike shoe blowing out in only his tenth game, Williamson spent most of his time on the sidelines. As he returned to health, management decided to ease him into it, significantly limiting playing time to avoid any risk of any other major injuries. Needless to say, in the little that we saw of him, there was potential to dominate the NBA, unlike any player before him.
Fast forward to his second season in 2021, and the “beast” Williamson is starting to become a force to be reckoned with. His unusual attributes of being solid, strong and powerful, combined with agility poses a conundrum that oppositions cannot solve.
We list some of the attributes that makes Zion Williamson so special
1. Too strong and powerful against guards
Opposing guards do not have the power or strength to prevent Williamson from getting close to the basket.
Williamson has an uncanny ability to turn his back against opposing guards to protect the ball, using his wide girth to prevent opposing guards from stealing the ball. With his back, Williamson is able to back down the opposing player, and once in close proximity to the ring, he can turn around and power the ball into the hoop. Opposing guards are powerless to stop him. They can neither push back against him when he backs them down, nor can they elevate high and quickly enough to prevent the ball from laying in. Should they try and steal the ball around him, Williamson is athletic enough to spin and face the basket for easy points.
2. Too fast and agile for forwards and centers
Opposing forwards and centers do not have the speed and agility to prevent Williamson from driving past them.
Williamson is the third heaviest player in the NBA, with the two players heavier than him standing over 7 feet tall. With such power and strength, opposing teams attempt to defend him with stronger, larger players. This however often fails due to Williamson’s speed and agility. A player of Williamson’s weight is often described as slow and cumbersome, but this could not be further than the truth. Williamson is fast! Not just with his feet but also with his hands. He can easily dribble past slow big defenders, and he has the ball control of a guard to get to the ring. Defenders who are stronger do not has the agility to position their bodies to prevent Williamson from driving to the basket. Furthermore, Williamson has the ability to position his wide body to slide through players. It beggars belief for a player of his size to be able to do this. But he does it, time and time again.
3. Point Guard mentality and ability
Williamson is a Point Guard
In Williamson’s high school days, he was trained to be a point guard. At under 6′ he was deemed “too short” to play in the forward line up, and therefore was positioned as a guard. Post high school, Williamson shot up to be a 6’6 and retained the physic of a tank. But, having been trained to facilitate the run of play, Williamson feels that his natural position in the NBA is as a point guard, rather than pounding it against the big’s in the inside. This poses a huge problem for opposing teams. Williamson can easily grab defensive rebounds, start a fast break AND finish the fast break by himself. There is no one big enough that can keep up with him, and there is no one fast with enough power to stop him.
4. Explosive jump
Can jump with power, speed and precision
A man of his size and weight should not be able to explode into the air and launch himself like he does. With this unique ability, Williamson is able to block shots and literally swat them into the grand stand. He has great timing to jump when the ball is launched into the air, and batter it away.
In addition, rebounding comes with ease. In particular second chance rebounds. No one can relaunch into the air as quickly as Williamson can. And if they could, they are far to short to outreach him. At times, it is like watching a bully in the play ground, having fun missing shots and grabbing rebound after rebound until the ball softly goes through the ring.
5. Scoring efficiency
Equals Shaq for record of over 20 points scored per game with an efficiency of over 50%
Williamson loves to score in the paint. And why not?! No one can stop him. He can score with such ease, his efficiency has not been seen since the days of Shaquille ONeal. As soon as Williamson touches the ball (almost in any position), he can score. As long as his team mates set the screen or clear out, scoring is inevitable for Williamson.
He will drive to the basketball, if he is too far from the ring. Or if he is already close, he can power his way to the hoop for an easy two.
Though Williamson is often spoken about with his power and strength, he in fact has very soft hands!
Power slam dunks is easy for him. But don’t overlook that he also can lay it up, shoot the bank shot or even launch a mini floater from the side. It is an unusual sight to say the least. Spin moves with the ball, slicing through defenders, and a soft bank shot to score an easy basket. All from a player who is the third heaviest in the league! This should not be possible, but it is.
Finesse and grace is not used to describe Williamson. But if you watch closely enough, he is developing into a player that has a wide arsenal at his disposal. He has the ability to play at speed, under control and fluidly.
7. Room to grow
Give him a few more years and he will be dominating basketball world.
Scary is the word to say that Williamson still have room to grow. Unfortunately, Williamson has no outside game. Admittedly, this observation maybe slightly premature, as it hasn’t been necessary for Williamson to shoot from range. He has shown glimpses of long range shooting ability, however it’s not his bread and butter and the shooting percentages aren’t bad but not great either. If he were to develop an outside shot, Williamson could truly be unstoppable. That not to say they he isn’t at the moment.
Williamson is not your typical basketball player. Normally the “shorter” players are guards which guide the flow of the game and are excellent scorers, while the “taller” players who are less mobile play closer to the ring as forwards and centers. At only 6’6 Williamson is not tall, but tall enough to amazingly consistently score at ease while close to the ring. Players of his size typically cannot out muscle other bigs, but Williamson has the God given genes of being built like a tank but with the dexterity of a jaguar – power and grace combined. His speed poses a problem, not just with his feet but with his hands. Fast to drive and to get into position, and quick soft hands to lay the ball into the basket. With his power he is able to out jump and grab rebounds from taller players.