Duke’s Zion Williamson has been the consensus best player in college basketball since he committed to Duke, and for good reason. The 18-year-old possesses a truly rare blend of size and athleticism, along with elite body control that allowed him to dominate the ranks of the NCAA this season.
In 33 games, he averaged 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals, and 1.8 blocks per game, while shooting an impressive 68% from the field. Williamson is the most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James in 2003, but should he even be the first player taken? Let’s explore the arguments for him not going first overall.
Full disclosure, I believe Williamson is the best player in this class and should be the first pick, but it’s dishonest to say that he’s a can’t-miss prospect with no weaknesses. Now, whether or not these cons are enough to pass on him is up for debate.
Injury possibility (or probability)
Williamson has drawn plenty of comparisons to James, both physically and athletically, but James stands at least 6’8″ and his weight has increased from around 240lbs to about 260lbs now. He has avoided injury for the majority of his career, which is impressive given his playstyle. James’ Body Mass Index is 28.6, while Williamson, who is listed at 6’7″ 285lbs, has a BMI of 31.5. This is a significant difference. James’ vertical jump is reportedly 44″, while Williamson can hit 41″. The repeated force of 280lbs dropping from 41″ in the air on knees is concerning.