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2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Zion Williamson

2019 NBA Draft prospect profile: Zion Williamson

2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Zion Williamson

School: Duke
Position: Forward
Age: 18
Height: 6-7
Weight: 285

Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: 45 in.
2018/19 stats: 22.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.1 spg, 1.8 bpg, 68.0 FG% (9.0/13.2), 33.8 3PT% (0.7/2.2), 64.0 FT%

Player comparison: Blake Griffin/Larry Johnson

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 1st, NBADraft.net 1st, Bleacher Report 1st, Sports Illustrated 1st, Ringer 1st

5 things to know:

1. He is the consensus No. 1 across all reputable mock drafts with Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett considered a distant second and third. Some years, there is no debate about who will go first. Williamson is in that category with LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, and John Wall, who were slam-dunk top picks in the years they came out.

2. He has a rare combination of power and explosiveness. There is only one player in the NBA who is heavier than him (Boban Marjanovic), yet Williamson has a vertical leap well above 40 inches and a first step that resembles a guard. He is not just a raw athlete, either. He has a well-rounded skillset and impressive basketball instincts. He can attack off the dribble, create in the post and control games defensively with the versatility to guard multiple positions.

3. Williamson is young for his grade. When he is drafted on June 20, he will only be 18 years old with his 19th birthday not until July 6. If he debuted last season, Williamson would have been the fifth-youngest player in the league.

4. He is not a perfect prospect. Williamson has one glaring weakness and that is his outside shot. He hit a modest 33.8 percent of his three-pointers and his 64 percent mark at the free throw line does not bode well. That said, Williamson did make 40 percent of his threes on 2.5 attempts over his last 20 games in college. And even if he doesn't develop an outside shot, he still has the tools to be a star at the NBA level. It just may dictate the type of supporting cast needed around him.

5. Williamson was only the third freshman in NCAA history to win the Naismith player of the year award. The other two were Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis. That is excellent company to be in when it comes to NBA prospects.


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Wizards players react to teammates contracting coronavirus

Wizards players react to teammates contracting coronavirus

Though the percentages may be lower for young, well-conditioned athletes, coronavirus remains a real threat to NBA players and the Washington Wizards were served a reminder of that this week with the reported positive tests for Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton II.

Forward Troy Brown Jr., who is close with Bryant, said he has talked to his friend and teammate since he came down with Covid-19. He believes Bryant will be able to join the team in Orlando before too long.

"I talked to him a little bit. It's just more so day by day," Brown said. "I don't think it was anything other than just him doing normal stuff [when he contracted it]."

Guard Jerome Robinson is with the Wizards at Disney World, taking their team flight down on July 7. But he says the decision to play was not a simple one.


Robinson felt uneasy about the risk of being around people and playing basketball during the worldwide pandemic.

"There was some thought [of not going]. For the most part, for me my concerns were just the safety of it all. It's a deadly virus and we don't have a vaccine," he explained.

"It was kind of scary being around my family and things like that. I don't want to get put in a circumstance where we all get it our I get it or things of that nature, [especially] any elder. The biggest thing is how can we be safe during this whole thing."

Robinson is 23 years old and an NBA player in tip-top shape. But he has read enough of the news to realize, though the odds are lower, the possibility remains for someone of his age and health to be affected by the virus.

"Even us, being young people, you don't want to be that one because it can happen. It's a deadly virus and it's something that we have to take seriously," he said.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.



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Scott Brooks, Wizards adjusting quickly to life in the NBA's bubble

Scott Brooks, Wizards adjusting quickly to life in the NBA's bubble

They began with 36 hours in quarantine, a day-and-a-half of just sitting in their hotel rooms at Disney World, waiting to get to work as the NBA aims to resume and finish the 2019-20 season.

Wizards forward Isaac Bonga talked to his friends on the phone and played XBOX. Head coach Scott Brooks FaceTimed his family. Guard Ish Smith marveled at how similar his hotel room was to the one he stayed in last summer at Disney World.

They had just arrived to Orlando, FL from Washington, D.C. for the NBA's restart. They had to wait those 36 hours and test negative for coronavirus twice before going free.

"The forced relaxation drove me crazy. It was the weirdest thing," Brooks said.

The Wizards were eventually let out of their rooms and on Thursday held their first practice at Disney World; a 5 p.m. get-together that featured real, live basketball, the type they had abstained from for weeks at their training facility due to social distancing protocol.


They were missing a few players and not just the previously established absences of John Wall, Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans; their three best players. Thomas Bryant, Gary Payton II and Garrison Mathews were all reportedly away from the team; the first due to coronavirus and Mathews because of personal reasons.


Still, getting out in the open floor and scrimmaging was a major step for the Wizards as they look towards July 31, their first regular season game.

"I thought the practice was outstanding. I was real concerned because we hadn't done anything live," Brooks said.

"I don't know how they did it, how the NBA was able to get it all done. Our facility here, our gym is pretty incredible. The weight room is amazing. The hotels are great. Everything is good. I have no complaints. It's just like a road trip for us."

"It just felt good to be out there," Smith said. "It was very similar to a normal practice that we would have, just coaches have gloves and masks on."

What happens on the court, the NBA hopes, should feel familiar. It's off-the-court that will require the biggest adjustment, as everyone there will be away from their families for an extended period of time and in an environment intended to stop the spread of a worldwide pandemic.

But the early returns from the Wizards were good. They are pleasantly surprised with the situation so far.

"Look, we get to play basketball. To me, it's like going away to basketball camp," Brooks said.

Stay connected to the Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.