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Legends discuss the big issues in sport. Episode 34. Source: Unibet
It’s the Zion hour in the US at the moment with sports fans coming down with a heavy case of Williamson fever.
The most hotly anticipated NBA debutant since LeBron James, Williamson has attracted headlines ever since his gigantic frame waltzed onto basketball courts in his teens.
After one incredible college season at Duke, the 19-year-old was selected first in the draft by New Orleans and pulled off an incredible pre-season run, averaging 23.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists a game in four appearances for the Pelicans.
Fans eager to see all the enormous rookie has to offer will have to wait, however. A devastating knee injury on the eve of the new NBA season pumped the brakes on the 129kg behemoth’s debut season.
But former Boomers skipper Shane Heal doesn’t think the setback will tarnish the hype of the Zion locomotive.
Speaking on Wednesday, Heal admitted Williamson would have to shelve his ambition of becoming the first rookie to become an NBA All-Star since Blake Griffin in 2011.
“I don’t think he’ll be an All-Star, because he’s going to be out for eight weeks,” Heal said. “But he is a freak, he’s going to have an unbelievable NBA career.”
The New Orleans Pelicans revealed the news on the eve of the team’s season-opener against the reigning champion Raptors, confirming their No. 1 draft pick will be out for two months after undergoing surgery.
Zion Williamson has hit an awful spell of luck.Source:AP
“Zion Williamson underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today to address a torn right lateral meniscus,” the Pelicans said in a statement.
“The timetable for his full return to play is estimated at six to eight weeks.”
Williamson impressed during pre-season games but missed his team’s final game in New York with a sore knee. A precautionary MRI scan shortly after revealed the worst, reigniting debate over the rising star’s weight, which resembles that of an NFL linebacker.
Heal weighs in on 'freak' Zion. Episode 33. Source: Unibet
His debut against Toronto was set to be one of the biggest talking points of the association’s first month.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told AFP reporters on Friday that Williamson is “not dead” and rather is in good spirits after apparently suffering the injury against San Antonio last Sunday.
In the Vegas Summer League, Williamson played only nine minutes before he banged left knees in a collision and was benched for the remainder of the summer league NBA games.
HEAL: HE’S A LEGITIMATE SUPERSTAR
Is Ben Simmons a top ten player?Source:Getty Images
Shane Heal, despite squashing hype over his internet-shattering maiden three-pointer, also put Ben Simmons in the same category asZion.
Heal said the Aussie will arrive as top 10 player this season, even with his questionable shooting beyond the paint.
“He is a freak,” he said. “He’s unbelievable. To be six foot 10 and play the point guard position … he brings the ball up, he creates, he brings everyone else into the game — and scores close to the basket but can’t shoot.
“But I’m not sure he needs to shoot threes. He’s so dominant near the basket that he scores anyway. He’ll have to evolve at some stage … but there’s talk he’s shoot over 16.5 threes (this season). There’s no WAY he’ll be making that in a whole season.
“But he dominated last year. He is a legitimate superstar and he’ll be an All-Star again this year. He’s a top 10 player.”