Zion Williamson is the presumptive No. 1 pick, barring something absolutely shocking happening in the next few days. He's coming off of a year in which he was the unquestioned face of college basketball, and was one of the most popular Duke players among non-Duke fans in recent memory.
There are questions about his move to the next level. Zion's 2019 injury raises some concerns, and of course, in a shooting-oriented league, he is a player whose strength comes around the rim (though he is a very talented ball handler for his size.)
Still, no front office is going to pass on the chance to take him No. 1, in case he lives up to his crazy potential. The New Orleans Pelicans should be doing as much later this month.
Not everyone is buying the crazy Zion hype though.
FOX Sports 1's Ric Bucher was on Colin Cowherd's radio show today, and threw some serious cold water on Zion Williamson's potential.
Bucher calls him "Lonzo Ball 2.0," referring to the hype that the Los Angeles Lakers point guard entered the league with after one year at UCLA.
From FOX Sports Radio:
“This is Lonzo Ball 2.0. We’ve already made him a Hall of Famer! Is he taking the Pelicans to the playoffs?? We’re talking about him like he’s a generational player. He’s a phenomenally athletic talent, but people are way more excited about Zion Williamson, than they are about Luka Doncic. And Luka Doncic was far more prepared to play in the NBA than Zion; and not because of the athleticism, but because of the ability and the skills. Zion doesn’t show me the requisite tool box to say he can come in and do everything."
This is pretty unfair on a number of levels.
Much of the Ball hype came from his boisterous father, and the circus surrounding him. Ball was a very good player at UCLA, but he didn't go No. 1, no one aside from LaVar said he'd be some franchise savior, and his game is completely different from Zion's.
Burying Lonzo Ball as some sort of bust is very premature. He's been a decent NBA player thus far and could still be an All-Star if he develops as a shooter.
The point about Luka Doncic being undersold has some merit, the Mavericks rookie was incredible this season, but he and Zion have nothing to do with one another. Zion could never be as good as Doncic, who is coming off of a historic rookie year, and both could still have fantastic careers.
Williamson is probably the most hyped player entering the NBA since LeBron James, a time period that includes some all-time greats. That some of those players flew under the radar compared to Zion doesn't mean anything for his future as an NBA player.