Final demand: THE BALL
Last season, Duke basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski never did do what so many of us fans clamored for all season: test to see, without any mercy, if anyone could actually consistently stop Zion Williamson.
Though his averages were dazzling enough to earn honors as national player of the year, they weren’t enough to bring a sixth national title to Durham — to no fault of his own other than his potentially damaging unselfish nature. Had Williamson had the chance to attempt a shot on literally as many possessions as it would have taken to drop his field goal percentage to the low 60’s, this Zion enthusiast believes he would have averaged about 30 points and thereby quite easily guided the Blue Devils to the promised land.
Instead, except for in the ACC Tournament win over UNC (highlights below), in crunch time last season, the ball almost always went to now-New York Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett, who required 5.3 more shot attempts per game than Williamson to produce the identical 22.6 scoring average as a Blue Devil. As a result, harsh as it is to admit, the 2018-19 Duke basketball season ended way too early with the ball in the wrong guy’s hands.
Yes, Brandon Ingram is quite the weapon on offense — leading New Orleans at 25.8 points per game on 48.0 percent shooting from the field — and has done all he can of late to seal his selection to this season’s All-Star Game. That said, immediately upon Williamson’s return, New Orleans should reach beyond the stars by making the rookie the first option every time down the court until someone proves able to contain him.
That’s common sense, one would think, especially with the playoffs still in the picture. It really might be just that easy. We certainly won’t know, though, until someone is willing to authorize Williamson to find out.
In short, Zion Williamson should seize every second of his youth while he still has it by demanding his destiny to arrive ASAP — rather than at some safe time down the road so as not to frighten his bosses right now.
No doubt the rest will take care of itself and be just as amaZion as God intended.