Zion Williamson is just a freshman on Duke’s basketball team, but his talent on the court has catapulted him to the very top of nearly every NBA Draft projection.
It’s because of that talent that NBA legend Scottie Pippen thinks that Williamson’s Duke career should stay short. On a recent episode of ESPN’s “The Jump,” Pippen said he thinks Williamson should sit out the rest of the season to protect himself for the NBA Draft.
Tracy McGrady and @ScottiePippen don’t agree on whether Zion Williamson is the best player on his Duke team – but regardless, they both think he should stop playing NCAA ball right now, to eliminate the risk of injury before the draft. pic.twitter.com/7Egu42FjfJ
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 16, 2019
“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. I think for him as a young player, I would shut it down. I would stop playing because I feel he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career.”
Pippen has a point. Basketball-wise, there’s not much more Williamson can do to improve his draft stock or his marketability. He’s averaging 21.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.9 blocks per game. He’s a one-man highlight machine, and essentially the consensus No. 1 pick after just 16 college games. He could play the rest of the season and add another 14-plus games to his resume, but what would those games tell us that we don’t already know?
The only thing that could happen during those 14-plus games is that Williamson could get injured. And that would definitely affect his draft stock and his future career in the NBA.
It’s not known if Williamson is even considering sitting out the rest season. From a fan standpoint, it would be disappointing to watch a Williamson-free Duke team play in the NCAA Tournament. But if he decides to do it, it would be hard to legitimately blame him for it. Continuing to play at Duke means he’s risking his health and his future in the NBA and not getting paid for it.
It’s Williamson’s decision to take that risk or not. The only thing a fan can do is enjoy his insane Duke highlights for as long as we can.
Lob it up and Zion Williamson will do the rest pic.twitter.com/hwQg6IxQNx
— Def Pen Sports (@DefPenSports) January 9, 2019
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