Is drafting Zion Williamson worth it?

During the 2020-21 NBA season, Zion Williamson averaged 27.0 PPG (61.1 FG%), 7.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.6 BPG whereas taking part in in 61 of the Pelicans’ 72 video games, beginning the season at 20 years outdated.

The downside? In the opposite two full seasons that Williamson has been within the NBA, he is performed a complete of 20 out of 154 potential video games, together with zero final season.

Now 22 years outdated, Williamson is reportedly within the “greatest form of his life.” He simply signed a max rookie extension this offseason. He remains to be the marquee participant on a Pelicans workforce with official playoff buzz this season.

But the place do you have to draft him in your fantasy basketball league?

ooh That’s a troublesome query.

Williamson has the potential this season to be a greater and extra productive participant than he was throughout his sophomore marketing campaign two years in the past. He nonetheless has his unmatched explosion-girth combo that makes him one of the crucial tough gamers within the NBA to protect, however he has additionally had time to mature bodily and emotionally, plus one other full season across the recreation to work on his craft.

However, the Pelicans additionally had a full season to get used to taking part in with out him. In that season, Brandon Ingram blossomed right into a full-on NBA star, able to averaging 27.0 PPG, 6.2 APG and 6.2 RPG in the course of the playoffs with a utilization share above 29 in each the common and postseason.

They additionally introduced in CJ McCollum in a late season commerce that revitalized the workforce and led to their postseason push. McCollum averaged 24.3 PPG and 5.8 APG in 26 regular-season video games with the Pels. McCollum and Ingram averaged 37.1 mixed subject aim makes an attempt within the season, and a whopping 40.5 FGA in the course of the playoffs.

While it may be argued that having proficient teammates ought to make it even simpler for Williamson to attain, effectivity was by no means the problem. He already shoots over 60% from the sector. But it is onerous to think about him getting the utilization he’d must match even the 27 and 4 he averaged two seasons in the past, not to mention exceed it. His quantity is capped by the necessity to share the rock.

And then there’s the elephant within the room: well being. Williamson suffered a decrease physique damage that saved him out for large swathes of video games in three of the 4 seasons he is performed post-high faculty, together with his one season at Duke. The mount of explosiveness he generates at his large measurement generates unbelievable quantities of torque and forces on his decrease extremities that may be pathological if his leaping type is not exact sufficient.

Stephania Bell has executed an exquisite job of breaking that down over the previous few years, and it holds true this 12 months as effectively. At this level in his profession, fantasy managers simply have to simply accept that he will be an damage threat.

On a per-game foundation, Williamson’s manufacturing ought to land him within the top-25 of fantasy producers, and that is conservative. But, with the dangers and upside cap that he faces this season, I’m unlikely to draft him earlier than the fifth spherical of (m)any leagues. This implies that I’m prone to miss out on having Williamson on (m)any of my groups, as a result of his ADP can be larger than that. With per week left in September, it is at the moment at 29.6.

But, I’d moderately have piece of thoughts. I swung for the fences with Williamson on a number of of my groups final season, and struck out. Mixed baseball metaphor apart, I’m unlikely to threat getting burned once more. Fool me as soon as, disgrace on you. Fool me twice … I am unable to let myself get fooled once more! I could miss out on a magical season from Williamson, however I’m content material to let another person take the chance/reward plunge.

All that mentioned, if it is the fifth spherical and Williamson remains to be sitting there as a result of everybody else can also be afraid to draft him? Sign me up! I’ll take a crack at a possible first-round choose sort of season if I can get him with my fifth choose. That’s a possible league-winner, if issues go the appropriate approach.

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