It’s always fun to see a young athlete come into any league and shatter expectation, what is even better is when those special few take those expectations which are already blown out of proportion and surpass the bar that has been set for them. Zion seems to be doing that right before our eyes and the media hype machine is already turning at a record pace. Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Zion is already the most explosive player in the NBA and he is shooting something like 80% from the paint which shows you he is already a man who can bang with the bigs at only 19 years old. CJ McCollum said on his podcast Zion already has the best second bounce in the league, meaning he is getting off the floor faster and more explosively than everyone else on second chance opportunities. His per 36 minute stats on the season are 30.1 PTS 8.5 RB 2.7 AST and 1 STL. There is no argument over the course of an entire season those stats, if maintained, would be elite. Honestly with how big he is and how quick his bounce is its surprising he is grabbing less than 10 rebounds but with more seasoning and coaching and really learning of the game he will average closer to 12 rebounds per in his sleep. In other words we are looking at a potential 25/12/5 guy as quickly as next year. Kid is the real deal; imagine if he can develop a mid-range game? Yikes it’s scary.
To me Zions ceiling as being some sort of cyborg hybrid of Charles Barkley and Blake Griffin. Someone who is extremely powerful in the mold of Chuck who can run the floor and be the best athlete on the court but also whose explosiveness and jumping ability for his size is unmatched. This makes Zions ceiling through the roof, if I told you in 5 years Zion would be averaging 28 PTS 13.5 RB and 5 AST would you be surprised? I wouldn’t, those are pushing Shaq-type numbers. What worries me however is while he is listed at 6’6” 285 (he is definitely more than 6’6”) without the proper conditioning and diet all the sudden he is pushing 300 lbs and he starts to lose that explosiveness and worse his knees start to take on more pressure and weight than they are used to and the injuries start to creep up on him. In other words let’s hope he starts to chisel out like a mid-80s Barkley and not fill out like a mid-90s version. Fame and fortune is coming and its coming quick so I hope the Pelicans have begun to surround him with a good team that will successfully manage both his on and off the court responsibilities and treatment. They have something special with Zion and that young core so it’s going to be fun to watch in the decade to come, I’d be buying every share of that team that I could get my hands on.