Atlanta Hawks Potential Number One Pick Zion Williamson

Atlanta Hawks, Zion Williamson (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks, Zion Williamson (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Hawks
Atlanta Hawks, Zion Williamson (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

Expert Opinion

Zion Williamson is the consensus number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. It would certainly not be a surprise to see the representative for whatever team that wins the NBA Lottery, already have a Zion Williamson jersey of their team, made up and on hand the night the lottery is drawn. Pick any NBA Mock Draft or Big Board and there is an extremely high probability that Zion Williamson is at the top of the list. The only possibility that Zion Williamson doesn’t go number one in the 2019 NBA Draft, is if the Phoenix Suns, who are said to be extremely high on Murray State point guard Ja Morrant, win the number one pick. Even then Phoenix would be smart to try to trade the pick, while still acquiring Morrant if he’s their guy. The Big Board of Jeremy Woo, NBA Draft expert for Sports Illustrated is just one example of boards that Zion is at the top of. It can be found by clicking here. Mr. Woo offered these thoughts about the game of Zion Williamson:

"“Williamson’s immense athletic ability and basketball instincts are conducive to easy baskets, transition offense and momentum-swinging plays on both ends. Playing downhill with his strength, deft finishing and passing ability, he was almost impossible to defend at the college level. His unusually pronounced strengths have covered for his flaws in prolific fashion. To maximize his ability long-term, Williamson will gradually need to expand his skill set in a way that relies less on his explosiveness and more on craft. His athletic gifts and the fact he cares so much at all times will ensure he remains productive until he gets to that point.”"

Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, formerly of DraftExpress and now ESPN NBA Draft experts, also have Zion Williamson number one on their best available player list. ESPN gives us this thorough scouting video on Zion Williamson courtesy of their YouTube channel:

NBA Comparisons

Zion Williamson is unlike any athlete we have ever seen. Zion is expected to measure 6’7 and weight 285 pounds with a wingspan of 6’11.5″ at the NBA Draft Combine. The closest comparison body wise to Zion, is Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap. The two men have a similar height and wingspan, but Millsap only weighs 258 pounds and doesn’t possess the quickness, strength, or leaping ability that Williamson does.

Game wise, the comparisons that are given for Zion Williamson are lofty. Jonathan Givony compared Zion to Charles Barkley. compares Williamson to Charles Barkley and Blake Griffin here on their website. Former Atlanta Hawks forward Christian Laettner compares Zion Williamson to a combination of LeBron James, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. He even goes as far as to compare Zion to Bo Jackson as an athlete. Read about Laettner’s comments on Zion Williamson, in this article by Kyle Boone of CBS Sports.

All of those comparisons are very good in their own way, but personally I compare Zion Williamson to Larry Johnson, formerly of the Charlotte Hornets. LJ was a star who was extremely athletic, despite being undersized. Johnson was playing at a Hall of Fame level, averaging 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds for his first five NBA seasons in Charlotte, before a back injury relegated him to being a role player for the New York Knicks. Larry Johnson was also extremely marketable as proven with the Converse Grandmoma Campaign.

ATL All Day Player Comparison:

Ceiling: a bigger, better Larry Johnson

Floor: Anthony Mason, Draymond Green, Josh Smith (with better shot selection)