2019 NBA Draft Wizards Prospect Preview: Zion Williamson
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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