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Rick Carlisle on Zion Williamson: ‘Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set’

In just his second NBA season, Zion Williamson is starting to live up to the promise and potential that made him the runaway No. 1 pick out of Duke. It’s not just the 26 points a game on 62.7% shooting or the 7.1 rebounds a game, it’s the improvement in his playmaking and all-around game. Williams is blossoming into a special player.

Don’t take my word for it, here is what Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle had to say about Zion after he dropped 38 on the Mavs in a Pelicans win, via Andrew Lopez of ESPN.

“He’s an unusual force and obviously a great player,” Carlisle said... “We’ll have to figure something a little better out next time, but he’s doing this to everybody. We did have some very good possessions guarding him, but he was a beast.

“It presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials. He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”

Carlisle isn’t the first person to use the Shaq comparison for Zion because there aren’t many dominant physical forces in the paint like them.

Zion is taking 74.5% of his shots at the rim (and he has 92 dunks this year) — and that is with every team knowing what he wants to do. They just can’t stop him. Dallas had no answer. A couple of weeks ago, past (and likely future) Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was in the paint in front of him and Zion went into Gobert’s body and found a way to score around him anyway.

Zion Williamson is already one of the NBA’s best players, a potential All-NBA level guy in just his second season, yet he is still finding his game and improving seemingly every night. Rick Carlisle may not be able to figure out something a little better next time because there may not be a good answer.