When a young LeBron James was getting ready to enter the NBA, we had never seen anything quite like him before. He was quick, fast, and very strong. But the guy just had a power to him unmatched by anyone else.
Power. That's been LeBron's staple ever since his early career.
Now imagine taking all that power, turning it up, and putting it into a 6-foot-7, 285-pound athlete. That's Zion Williamson and, like LeBron, is the type of player we've never really seen before. Somehow, despite his size, he moves faster and jumps higher than anyone else on the court. The guy is already a basketball legend.
And in case you're not sold on it, check out what one physicist said about what taking a charge against Zion was comparable to...
At the request of The Wall Street Journal, University of Lynchburg physicist Eric Goff reviewed grainy clips of Williamson charges to solve Gaminde’s mystery and quantify the basketball equivalent of getting hit by a bus. He calculated the maximum force of impact during one Williamson charge to be 300 pounds—the equivalent of the average force during a similar, head-on collision with a Jeep traveling 10 miles per hour.
Landon Moss Evan Shadkami are first-hand examples of the few guys we know who tried taking a charge on Zion. It wasn't pretty. But this begged the question: just much force did the basketball phenom generate? Apparently, the same as a head-on collision with a Jeep going 10 miles per hour. That's ridiculous.
“Some of the same physics ideas that are used to study car crashes and analyze fundamental particles slamming into each other at nearly the speed of light may be used to study collisions between basketball players,” Goff said.
What makes Zion so potent is this overwhelming force combined with everything else. He's an athletic marvel that just can't be stopped. A near literal freight train attacking the basket. This is why we see players give up their attempts to draw a charge on him.
There's literally only one player currently in the NBA heavier than Williamson; Los Angeles Clippers giant Boban Marjanovic, who comes in a whopping 7-foot-3, 290 pounds, who's been called for just one charge foul in his entire career. Now imagine a player like Boban, except they can literally do anything on the basketball court at a speed faster than almost anyone.
It's really crazy.
With Zion's status as this college basketball icon, it only thickens the seed of another topic: where is he going?
As the clear #1 pick, Zion has the potential to change the fortunes of a franchise. Whatever team ends up with him after the draft will have their franchise star.
He could go to Cleveland, where Dan Gilbert and the Cavs desperately attempt to find their way without LeBron James. So far, they haven't fared well. Since The King's departure, the team has returned to the Eastern Conference bunker. Now, questions loom about what's next for the hapless franchise. Do they trade Kevin Love? Which head coach do they bring in to replace Tyronn Lue? Whatever they go with, their misfortune might end up being their answer. If they draft Zion, everything gets a little simpler for the Cavs. So long as he can overcome a dysfunctional front-office, he can usher in the next Golden era for Cleveland sports.
He could go to Phoenix, where the Suns have been searching for ages for their next NBA superstar. They've built up a decent young core over the years, certainly a collection any NBA GM would be proud of. But how many of them are franchise game-changers? Which of them is the guy you'd have full faith to build around for the next 10 years? Fact is, none of them are Zion. With a player like that, the Suns might finally have the hope of building a true contender in the loaded Western Conference.
He could land in Chicago, a place that has longed for relevancy since the fall of Derrick Rose. Mired in injury, bad trade decisions, and an inability to lure quality free agents, the Bulls have become a bit of a laughing stock in the NBA. Thing is, all their problems hinge on one main weakness; they have nobody to build around. Zach LaVine isn't enough, Kris Dunn is overrated, and Lauri Markkanen will never quite be the guy to carry a franchise into glory. Williamson would change all of that.
Moral of the story is, we're seeing a special talent. He's fast, strong, and gifted. But he's also got the force of a 10 mile per hour Jeep. When you can go like that, it's no mystery why he's being so hyped up before even setting foot on NBA grounds.
No doubt, midst of a summer of free-agent decisions by some of the game's biggest names, the destination of Zion Williamson will change things up for sure. In fact, some will tell you he's the greatest prize of them all.
That remains to be seen, but he sure has shown a lot of reasons why we should give him the benefit of the doubt.