A Look at Zion Wiliamson’s Historic Sophomore Year

May 3, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) flexes his muscle after making a basket against Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Just days ago, young Pelicans star Zion Williamson’s season came to an unfortunate end when he fractured his finger. However, Williamson’s season was still a historical one. In general, he had a tremendous all-around year stats-wise. So today, we’ll examine his historic sophomore year and the feats he accomplished throughout the season.

This season, Williamson averaged a stellar 27 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists in 33 minutes per game. Also, his TS% this year was a fantastic 64.9. These numbers are dominant. To illustrate how stellar of an offensive season this is, Steph Curry averaged 30/5/7 on 67 TS% the year he was unanimous MVP.

Incredible Efficiency

May 4, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy talks to forward Zion Williamson (1) in the fourth quarter against the Golden State Warriors at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
 Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

This year, Williamson was able to score points at an efficiency level done by a few before. Williamson is the only player in NBA history to score 27+ PPG on 60 FG% or higher. 

Not only has Williamson been shooting exceptionally efficiently from the field, but he is doing so at a staggering volume. Zion is the only player in NBA history to shoot 60% from the field while attempting at least 17 shots per game.

Zion’s efficiency puts him into a league of his own. Few players can shoot the ball as well as he can.

Williamson is tough to stop in the paint. His strength and athleticism make him near impossible to guard in general. In addition, Zion is shooting a phenomenal 70.1 FG% from 0-3 feet from the rim this year.

Even some of the best defenses in the league struggle to contain Williamson. He has had absolutely monster games against top 3 defenses this year. Even more impressively, Zion is still able to maintain his criminally high efficiency against these�statistically smothering defenses.

In three games against the Jazz this year, he is�averaging 28.3 PPG on 66 FG%. Utah has the third-highest defensive rating in the NBA, and Rudy Gobert,�one of the best rim protectors�in the league.�He also put up 37/15/8�on 54 FG% against the 76ers, who have the second-best defensive rating in the league.

Williamson’s efficiency was one of the many parts of his historic sophomore year. The fact that Williamson can be this efficient from the field at such a young age is genuinely scary for the league. He will undoubtedly be a force in the future if he can stay healthy.

Historic Feats at Age 20

May 3, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) drives to the basket against Golden State Warriors center Kevon Looney (5) and forward Draymond Green (23) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Not only has Williamson had a statistically unprecedented year, but he has done so at just 20 years of age. The amount of players under 21 who have been able to record what he has is limited. Zion is one of only three players under the age of 21 to average�27+ points per game and 7+ rebounds per game�in a season. Additionally, his FG% is far and away from the highest out of the three.

Williamson also has the�third-most 30+ point games�in a season by a player under 21. Additionally, he achieved this while only playing 61 games this season, which is especially impressive. The only two players with more games are Luka Doncic and LeBron James. Zion has already joined an elite company in his young NBA career.

Zion was additionally named to the all-star team this season. He became the fourth-youngest player ever to be named to the all-star team, at 20 years and 244 days. He is the youngest NBA all-star since LeBron James.

The fact that Zion Williamson can record such great feats at an astoundingly young age is incredible. He has been able to do remarkable things on the basketball court at 20 years old. His unprecedented play is one of the many parts of his historic sophomore year.

Comparing To Great 20-Year-Old Seasons

Feb 12, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) drives to the basket as New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) defends during the second half at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Williamson’s historic sophomore season is up there with some of the best seasons by a 20-year-old ever. Some other 20-year-old players who have had historical seasons are LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, and Luka Doncic.

James averaged 27/7/7 at age 20, O’Neal averaged 23/14/2, and Doncic averaged 29/9/9. Williamson has already joined an elite company this season with his excellent year. Additionally, Luka, LeBron, and Zion are the only three players in NBA history to average 27 points in a season before turning 21.

The amount of 20-year-olds that have been able to accomplish what Zion has is minimal. He has already had an unprecedented season at the age of just 20.�Williamson’s name has already been etched�in NBA history before he has turned 21.

He Will Only Get Better

May 1, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) controls the ball as Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) looks on during the second quarter at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
 Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

One of the scariest parts of Zion’s historic sophomore year is that he will only continue to improve. It is just his second year in the league, and he is still far from his prime.

Additionally, Williamson can become even more lethal from the offensive end. Once he can shoot the three-point shot more consistently, he will be even more difficult to guard. Williamson’s superhuman athleticism and strength also give him the ability to become an even more excellent defender, which would allow his game to become even more complete and deadly.

Williamson still has so much to improve upon that is extremely worrying for the rest of the league. He is already putting up historic seasons without being even close to his full potential. He can become one of the most dominant players ever if he can stay healthy during his prime.

In conclusion, Zion Williamson had a historic sophomore year. At just age 20, he could do what few players in NBA history could on the offensive end. Williamson will have an enriching and dominant career as he gains experience.

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