‘Zion Williamson resembles LeBron James or Charles Barkley’: Stan Van Gundy explains Zion’s playing style

Raahib Singh
|Published 22/10/2020

Pelicans Head Coach Stan Van Gundy talks about Zion Williamson and his role in New Orleans, compares him to LeBron James and Charles Barkley.

The New Orleans Pelicans just hired Stan Van Gundy as their new head coach earlier today. Van Gundy has a massive job on his hands, as he has to maximise Zion Williamson’s potential and ensure that the Pelicans have a shot at the NBA Title.

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In his first interaction post the selection, Stan talks about what made him leave his spot at TNT and return to the coaching world. The Pelicans were sold upon SVG as a teacher, who could turn their young players better. Defense oriented teams are what Stan is most famous for, and the Pelicans look forward to the same.

Zion Williamson resembles LeBron James, Charles Barkley: Stan Van Gundy

The #1 pick from Duke in the 2019 draft, Zion Williamson is the face of the Pelicans ever since Anthony Davis left them.

The 6’6′ forward has been a popular prospect ever since he was in high school. After taking the head coach job, SVG talked to Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report about how Zion resembles LeBron James or Charles Barkley.

“He’s unique. That combination of size, quickness and explosive power, it really hasn’t come along. People were trying to make the comparison to LeBron or to Charles Barkley, and that’s probably as close as you’ll get.

“But he’s unique. He’s not really those guys. LeBron’s always been a primary ball-handler, point guard, point forward, whatever you want to call him. Barkley was maybe a closer analogy to Zion.

“What everybody notices is the big body and the great leaping ability, but he’s also got an incredible first step offensively and plays the game very unselfishly. He makes quick decisions, the ball leaves his hand quickly, so other guys can enjoy playing with him. He’s not a ball-stopper.”

Zion played 24 games last season, after missing the initial part of the season due to a knee injury. He averaged 22.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 42.9% from 3s and 58.3% from the field.

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Pelicans roster looks strong

Along with Zion, Stan Van Gundy would look forward to coach the other young talents the Pelicans have as well. There are 10 players returning to the Pelicans this year and they have quite a few draft picks as well.

Next years’ Pelicans would be a team to keep an eye on. Their young talent with an experienced coach could blossom great results.

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About the author
Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh

Raahib Singh is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. A Computer Science Engineer by qualification, Raahib's passion for sports drew him toward TSR. He started playing basketball when he was 14, and fell in love with the sport ever since. His interest in the NBA developed at the same time as when Stephen Curry put the entire league on notice. Raahib was spellbound by Steph and the Warriors and has been a fan since. From starting off as a Warriors fan, Raahib has evolved into someone who can never miss a good game of basketball. He converts his love for the game and the knowledge he has gained into the articles he writes. In his spare time, he enjoys cricket, going for walks, and murder mysteries.

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