Rick Carlisle outlines the difficulties in trying to defend Zion Williamson; says he’s like Shaq but with the skills of a point guard.
Zion Williamson was lauded as being perhaps the next LeBron James in this league. This was not because they shared an identical skillset (though they do have overlapping aspects in their individual games), but because Zion was thought to have been a once-in-a-generation type player, just like the ‘King’.
After having a couple ups and downs in his rookie season, the former Duke Blue Devil looked to be a promising young career. However, fast-forward to today, Zion Williamson has been everything he was hyped up to be, if not more.
Zion has made statlines such as 35 points on 16-19 shooting from the field look almost mundane, due to the frequency at which he posts such numbers. He has also been handling on-ball duties quite often nowadays and running the offense as well. His dominance in the paint is the reasoning behind Rick Carlisle’s praise towards him.
Rick Carlisle equates trying to stop Zion Williamson to trying to stop a freight train
The New Orleans Pelicans faced off against the Dallas Mavericks last night and handed them a fairly competitive loss at the tune of 112-103. At his postgame presser, Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle broke down what it was like having his guys defend Zion Williamson.
“He presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials. He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O’Neal type force with a point guard skillset. He’s coming at you like an Acela. It’s the fast one that doesn’t stop! He’s something else.”
Rick Carlisle on Zion Williamson: “This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”
Zion’s last 4 games:
38 PTS, 6 AST, 65% FG
39 PTS, 5 AST, 84% FG
27 PTS, 5 AST, 69% FG
30 PTS, 1 AST, 69% FGpic.twitter.com/QiSLC8tZRl
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 28, 2021
Zion has been tearing the league up throughout the entirety of the season, averaging 26.3 points on 63% shooting from the field. The Pelicans are clearly a better team when they allow Zion to take the reins down the stretch to make plays out of the post and/or from the perimeter, or simply bully his way to the bucket for a layup or free throws.
The Pelicans followed this formula to a T last night, which resulted in Zion scoring 38 points, leading them to a 9 point victory over Carlisle’s squad.