We’ve all seen how dominant Zion Williamson can be on an NBA court. It turns out that he’s actually in some rarefied air with Shaquille O’Neal.
The New Orleans Pelicans are stuttering their way through the season, unable to string together any kind of momentum. At the start of February, the team looked on its way to challenge for a top-8 berth in the Conference.
However, they’ve gone 3-7 in their last 10 games, dropping from 11-12 to 14-19 in the process. Head coach Stan van Gundy has tried his level best to instil some defensive nous, but to no avail. The team continues to be one of the worst defenses in the NBA.
The season isn’t without its bright spots though. 20-year-old Zion Williamson is all set to make his debut appearance in the All-Star Game this weekend.
Zion is doing this on the back of some stupendous play, scoring like a wrecking ball on offense. One of his eye-popping stats this season came through the month of February.
Zion Williamson becomes the first player since Shaquille O’Neal to average 25+ ppg on 60% fg
We’ve all compared Zion Williamson and his hype to that of LeBron James many times. But it seems that Zion is emulating the only player this century to arguably be more dominant than LBJ – Shaquille O’Neal.
Williamson finished the month of February with a scoring average of 27.3 points per game. He achieved this total while averaging an insane 64.7% from the field, making him the first player since Shaq in January 2005 to average over 25 points per game on such efficiency.
Zion Williamson in February:
He is the first player to average 25+ points on 60% shooting in a month since Shaquille O’Neal in January 2005 (min 15 games). pic.twitter.com/Ft495ineJP
— StatMuse (@statmuse) February 28, 2021
The eye test bears this out. Once Zion has any kind of space or separation from his defender on the perimeter, he gets to the paint more effortlessly than practically anyone in recent memory. He has an elite soft touch around the basket, and his misses at the bucket are few and far between.
Zion has a long way to go before earning deserved comparisons with Shaq, or indeed any all-time great. But he’s definitely gotten off to a stupendous start for this.