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'NBA Wants To See Zion Vs. LeBron In The First Round,' Says NBA Executive

(via Insider)

(via Insider)

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to continue late next month and while most are just happy to have the game back, the NBA has a few "dream scenarios" they want to see play out this postseason.

One of which includes a Zion vs. LeBron matchup in the first round.

Here's what one Eastern Conference executive told ESPN's Tim Bontemps and Andrew Lopez.

"Compared to most other young players, [the league is] invested in him," an Eastern Conference executive said. "There are few of these guys that, instead of just being popular within basketball, can expand the relevance of the NBA. They hope he can do that for them."

In the bubble, that stage could grow.

If New Orleans can elbow its way from 10th in the Western Conference standings into the eighth seed, a first-round matchup with the No. 1-seeded Los Angeles Lakers probably would be a ratings bonanza for the league. The teams' matchup on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles on TNT drew 2.24 million viewers and a game in New Orleans on March 1 on ESPN had 2.69 million viewers.

Zion's fame would likely help drive up ratings for the 2020 postseason.

"[Williamson is] a guy that drives eyeballs and attention," said the Eastern Conference executive, before referencing another rising star coming off an injury who met a title favorite in the NBA playoffs almost 30 years ago. "[The NBA] would love to have a Michael Jordan versus the '86 Celtics moment in the first round," the executive continued. "If they could get their ideal world, that's what they would want."

In the bubble, that stage could grow.

If New Orleans can elbow its way from 10th in the Western Conference standings into the eighth seed, a first-round matchup with the No. 1-seeded Los Angeles Lakers probably would be a ratings bonanza for the league. The teams' matchup on Feb. 27 in Los Angeles on TNT drew 2.24 million viewers and a game in New Orleans on March 1 on ESPN had 2.69 million viewers.

It would also allow the NBA to showcase its biggest star, LeBron James, against one of the players who could eventually succeed him as the league's marquee attraction.

It makes sense. Even despite his injuries, Zion Williamson is probably the NBA's most hyped=up young player. At Duke, he used his unique size and amazing athleticism to dominate while posting averages of 22 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game on 68% shooting.

His strength and athleticism are compatible with LeBron when he was young. And the idea of having Zion (who might be next in line) go up against James (his mentor and the NBA's current face) is a matchup that any and every NBA fan would love to see.

The bottom line? The NBA knows what they want. And whether or not it happens this season, you can expect Williamson to be at the forefront of coverage for years to come.