During the 2020-21 NBA season, Zion Williamson She averaged 27.0 PPG (61.1 FG%), 7.2 RPG, 3.7 APG, 0.9 SPG and 0.6 BPG while playing in 61 of the Pelicans’ 72 games, starting in the season at age 20.
the problem? In the other two full seasons Williamson spent in the NBA, he played a total of 20 out of 154 potential games, including zero last season.
Now 22, Williamson is said to be in “the best shape of his life”. He just signed off on Max’s rookie extension this off-season. He remains the standout player for the Pelicans with the legitimate playoffs this season.
But where should you recruit him in your fantasy basketball league?
Oh. This is a difficult question.
Williamson has the potential this season to be a better and more productive player than he did during his sophomore campaign two years ago. He still has a bunch of unparalleled explosions that make him one of the toughest players in the NBA to guard, but he’s also had time to mature both physically and emotionally, as well as another whole season around the game to work on his craft.
However, the Pelicans also had a whole season to get used to playing without him. in that season, Brandon Ingram He blossomed into a full-fledged NBA superstar, capable of averaging 27.0 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 6.2 RPG during the playoffs with an over 29 usage percentage in both the regular season and post-season.
They also brought CJ McCollum In a late season trade that revitalized the team and led to their push after the season ended. McCollum averaged 24.3 PPG and 5.8 APG in 26 regular season games with the Pels. McCollum and Ingram each averaged 37.1 combined field goal attempts per season, and a whopping 40.5 FGA during the playoffs.
While it could be argued that having talented teammates should make it easier for Williamson to score, efficiency was never the issue. He’s already fired over 60% of the field. But it’s hard to imagine him getting the use he’d need to match up to the 27 and 4 he averaged two seasons ago, let alone exceed. Its size was crowned by the need to share the rock.
Then there’s the elephant in the room: health. Williamson suffered a lower-body injury that kept him out of large swathes of games in three of the four seasons he played after high school, including his only season at Duke. The blast force it generates with its massive size generates incredible amounts of torque and forces on its lower limbs that could be satisfying if the jump shape wasn’t precise enough.
Stefania Bell has done an amazing job of smashing that over the past few years, and that’s true this year as well. At this point in his career, the directors of Fantasia just have to accept that he would be at risk of injury.
On a per-game basis, Williamson’s production should put it in the top 25 fantasy productions list, and that’s conservative. But, with the risks and upside cover he’s facing this season, I’m unlikely to enlist him before the fifth round of any leagues. This means I would probably miss the chance of Williamson on any of my team, because his ADP would be even higher. With a week left in September, it currently stands at 29.6.
But I’d rather have a piece of mind. I swung the fences with Williamson on several of my teams last season, and I hit. Regardless of my mixed baseball metaphor, I’m not likely to risk getting burned again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice… I can never fool myself again! I might miss a magical season from Williamson, but I’ll just let someone else take the risk/reward.
All told, if this is round five and Williamson is still sitting there because everyone else is also afraid of being recruited? Involve me! I’d move into a potential first-round type of season if I could get it with my fifth pick. This is a potential league winner, if things go in the right direction.