Remember When Mike Francesa Said Zion Williamson Wouldn't Translate to the NBA? | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / February 24.
  • Remember When Mike Francesa Said Zion Williamson Wouldn’t Translate to the NBA?

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Remember when noted college basketball expert Mike Francesa said Zion Williamson wouldn’t translate well to the NBA?

    It’s been about a year since Francesa chimed in on Zion, saying that he couldn’t guard Tim Duncan (who retired) or Kevin Durant (who no one can guard).

    “If you take [Zion Williamson] first, you’re gonna wish you didn’t….,” Francesa said on air last year. “He’s not going to be a great pro. He’s got a lot of work to do before he shows me he can be a great pro.”

    Those were good times, huh?

    Zion went off for a career-high 31 points on 10-of-17 shooting, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 28 minutes Tuesday night when the Pelicans beat the Trail Blazers.

    According to ESPN, Zion joined Michael Jordan in 1984-85 to have more points than minutes played in his first 10 NBA games. He’s also the first rookie since Dikembe Mutombo in 1991-92 to score at least 14 points in each of his first nine career NBA games. The last three rookies to do it before Zion are Mutombo, Jordan and Patrick Ewing, per ESPN. Williamson has the third-most points in the paint in the NBA this season.

    “This dude, he’s like the Patrick Mahomes of the NBA,” ESPN’s Seth Greenberg said Wednesday on “Get Up.” “He finishes at the rim, he makes plays. He’s captured our attention at a level I have not seen since I’ve been watching the NBA.”

    Now let’s flash back to Francesa from a year ago for some laughs.

    Francesa also said, “If you take [Zion Williamson] first, you’re gonna wish you didn’t….He’s not going to be a great pro. He’s got a lot of work to do before he shows me he can be a great pro.”

    Back in November 2018, Mike said Williamson needed a “higher level” to play at than Division 1. Apparently, he wasn’t ready for the “higher level” of the NBA in Francesa’s mind.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.