When you talk about pressure, Zion Williamson probably knows more than most. At 6'6", 285 pounds, his size alone makes him stand out. In Duke, Williamson used that size and his amazing athleticism to absolutely crush his opponents. In his lone season at college, Williamson averaged 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists on 58.9% shooting.
By the time he was drafted by the Pelicans in 2019, he was already a national star. News outlets everywhere hailed him as the next All-Time great, with some going so far as to compare him to a young LeBron James.
And while the LeBron comparison may be a bit premature, they are definitely similar in one aspect. Kendrick Perkins talked about it on ESPN's The Jump.
"It’s no pressure. Zion handles pressure better than anyone since LeBron James. When you talk about even the sample size that we got of him this year in the 19 games that he played,” Perkins said. “He’s exceeded expectations. He is box office, must see TV and every time he delivers and he delivers in great fashion. He’s built for that pressure. He’s been that way since highschool.”
Indeed, the amount of attention Zion is getting from the media, the fans, and even the NBA itself is something we haven't seen since LeBron was the same age. Like LeBron, his team immediately became relevant after he joined.
And, like Bron, he is inserted in almost every basketball conversation.
The big question, though, is if Zion can handle all the pressure. We saw LeBron live up (and even exceed) the monumental expectations hoisted upon him, but it didn't come without challenges and bumps along the way.
Zion will face many hardships on his journey as well, but only time will tell if he can get through it all. Kendrick Perkins certainly seems to think so.