LeBron James has been one of the faces of the NBA for the past 17 seasons and has somehow — even at 35 years old — remained at the top of the league.
James’s dedication to his craft and health has allowed him to stay at an elite level on the basketball court and he is the driving force behind the Los Angeles Lakers’ Western Conference-best 44-12 record during the 2019-20 NBA season.
Although James is in the latter stages of his career, the NBA appears to be in good hands going forward as there is plenty of young talent league wide.
One of the clear up and coming players is Zion Williamson as he has already dazzled and surpassed expectations with his combination of strength, speed, and athleticism. The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft has given the New Orleans Pelicans a building block for the future that they should be able to build around.
James took time after the game to discuss Williamson and how he has fared so far.
“I’ve only seen him from a basketball perspective. In his first 10, 11 games? Playing exceptional basketball,” James said.
“I think every game, he’s gonna get better and better just having that experience. I think today’s game is a perfect fit for his game. The high pace, the way they play, it fits his game. The speed, running up and down. Playing at that speed, they move the ball, they try to get it up the court… reminds me of like the Phoenix Suns back when Steve Nash was running that first eight seconds, so it works perfectly.”
The Lakers came away with a 118-109 win, but saw just how much of a load Williamson can be as he routinely got free for dunks and simply overwhelmed the team’s frontcourt when getting to the rim. Williamson’s unique athletic profile makes him a mismatch nightmare and most teams will have difficulties trying to contain him once he learns the game.
James has been the league’s primary ambassador in recent seasons, but it appears that Williamson is set to usher in the next generation of players as he is the perfect one for the modern NBA. Fans have been spoiled by James’s greatness, but it may only be a matter of time until they are saying the same thing about Williamson.