Duke freshman Zion Williamson has take college basketball by storm, leading the Blue Devils to a No. 1 ranking that may have been solidified with their 72-70 win Saturday over previously unbeaten Virginia.
NBA legend Scottie Pippen said last week that Williamson has already done enough to be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, and that he should “shut it down” for the rest of the season to avoid injury.
“I think he’s locked up the biggest shoe deal, I think he’s definitely going to be the No. 1 pick, I think he’s done enough for college basketball that it’s more about him personally,” Pippen said on ESPN.
“I would shut it down. I think for him as a young player, I would stop playing because I feel that he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career,” the Hall of Famer added.
But Williamson says no way.
“I can’t just stop playing,” he told WSJS host Josh Graham on Saturday. “I’d be letting my teammates down, I’d be letting coach (Mike Krzyzewski) down, I’d be letting a lot of people down. If I wanted to sit out, I wouldn’t have went to college.”
“I came to Duke to play,” Williamson added.
It was a good answer. Not only would sitting out the rest of the season be a bad look for a young player like Williamson, but such a move would be unprecedented.
Further, Williamson would be deprived of the chance to compete for a national championship.
It’s also worth noting that Williamson is not a lock to be the first pick. Some mock drafts have Duke teammate RJ Barrett going number one overall.
Of course, at 6’7″ and 285 pounds with incredible athletic ability, Williamson is a unique talent.
He’s not your typical stretch four in the mold of a Kevin Durant that has become so prevalent in today’s NBA. Rather, he’s drawn comparisons to Blake Griffin, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley and even LeBron James.
It’s hard to predict where he’ll end up, though Williamson would fit nicely alongside Kevin Love on the Cavaliers, Kristaps Porzingis on the Knicks, or DeAndre Ayton on the Suns. The guard-heavy Bulls could also use him on their weak frontcourt.
In the meantime, it’ll be fun to watch see how far Williamson can take Duke this year.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.