The age of Zion Williamson is officially upon us. The human highlight reel has arrived at Duke, where he’s projected to be one of the top freshmen in college basketball and a likely lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
We have never seen a player quite like Williamson — and that’s no hyperbole. Duke is listing Williamson at 6’7, 285 pounds. There is only one player in the NBA who weighs more — 7’3 Detroit Pistons center Boban Marjanovic.
⚠️ DO NOT TRY TO TAKE THIS CHARGE. ⚠️ @ZionW32 pic.twitter.com/Z6aTB7xLVs— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) July 25, 2018
This is similar to Williamson’s previous measurements. At USA Basketball minicamp in October 2017, Williamson measured at 6’6, 272 pounds with a 6’10 wingspan.
He isn’t just abnormally heavy for a college freshman. He’s abnormally heavy for anyone playing basketball in 2018.
What’s amazing about Williamson is he can still fly at this weight. He set the Duke vertical jump record earlier this month.
New Record @ZionW32 #EarnEverything pic.twitter.com/fsK9G65bTy— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) July 6, 2018
It is safe to say Boban Marjanovic can not do this:
#Hoopmixtape Zion Williamson setting the levels ?? pic.twitter.com/5fxGXZY65O— SneakerTicker (@SneakerTicker) July 21, 2018
#bballvines Zion Williamson ?? pic.twitter.com/KfcSZtmdB0— NBA_Mixes (@NBA_Mixes) July 30, 2018
Just how big is Zion Williamson?
- He’s listed as one inch shorter and 35 pounds heavier than LeBron James.
- He’s 100 pounds heavier than Oklahoma City Thunder wing Terrance Ferguson, who is also listed at 6’7.
- He is almost identical size to Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who is listed at 6’7, 282 pounds.
- He is the same height and only 10 pounds lighter than Julius Peppers, the Hall of Fame defensive end who amassed 154.5 career NFL sacks.
- He is two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than Jadeveon Clowney, the former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick and defensive end for the Houston Texans.
- He has 15 pounds on DeMarcus Cousins, despite Cousins being listed as four inches taller.
- He is the same weight as Brock Lesnar, who is four inches shorter.
How will Zion Williamson be used at Duke? How will he be used in the NBA?
Williamson is entering a virtually unprecedented situation at Duke. He’s a consensus top-five national recruit, but Duke also has two other incoming freshmen who are rated even higher than him. That would be 6’7 wings R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish.
We know that Williamson is the height of a shooting guard and the weight of a ... very heavy NBA center. We know that he is an A-plus athlete with rare explosiveness. We know he’s a monster rebounder and shot blocker who can make plays above the rim on both ends of the court. We know he finishes everything with a dunk when he’s close to the hoop.
We also know Williamson struggles to shoot from the perimeter. He’s better than advertised as a ball handler and passer. He’s going to impress fans and pro scouts all season with his ball skills.
Williamson doesn’t look like a traditional center, but that might be his best role at Duke this season. He will be a huge alley-oop target on screen-and-rolls, and will have no problem holding his own on the glass. He’s also a capable playmaker when he gets the ball while rolling to the basket. Duke likes to play a spread offense, and having Williamson surrounded by shooters could make for a devastatingly effective unit.
If Williamson’s ball handling and passing continues to come around, he could even be an offensive initiator long-term. For now, just enjoy watching one of the most unique prospects we’ve seen in a long time.