Stephen A. Smith explains why he thinks Zion's rookie year will mirror Shaq's.
New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson has drawn comparisons to plenty of NBA stars since he burst onto the scene in High School, ranging from LeBron James to NBA Hall of Famers such as Charles Barkley and Dominique Wilkins.
These are certainly unfair expectations to put on a 19-year old kid, but Zion has shown no signs of letting that pressure effect his game. In the Pelicans most recent preseason game, the former Blue Devil racked up 29 points on 12-of-13 shooting (all in the paint) to go along with four assists and four rebounds in 27 minutes of action.
And as he continues to thrive against NBA competition, those superstar comparisons will continue to surface. On Thursday, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith floated the name of yet another Hall of Famer who didn't waste any time establishing himself as an All-Star. Says Smith, "I think that Zion's rookie year, to some degree, is going to mirror Shaquille O'Neal."
Specifically, Smith pointed to the fact that he expects Zion to get up 16 shots per game and many of those will be dunks, just the way Shaq was able to throw his weight around in explosive fashion.
Of course, Shaq did way more than just dunk during his Rookie of the Year campaign in the 1992-93 season. In addition to averaging 23.4 points, The Diesel posted career highs in rebounds and blocks per game in his first NBA season with 13.9 and 3.5, respectively.
Check out the video below to catch Stephen A's thoughts about Zion potentially having a Shaq-like rookie season.