We’ve never truly been able to see Zion Williamson at his full potential, but maybe that’s starting to turn around. On Tuesday night Zion threw down one of the most thunderous, but also technically impressive alley oops you’ll see this season.
Obviously the athleticism goes without saying. Williamson’ head is at rim-height by the time he’s ready to throw it down, and he took off obscenely far from the hoop. It’s the devil in the details that makes this one really special.
The pass from Dyson Daniels is good, but it’s far from perfect. He puts a little too much on it, and for most guys this would be tipped out of bounds. Instead Zion reaches back with his left hand, grabs the rock while in air, and still manages to throw it down with emphasis, all while looking effortless in the process.
It might just be a glimmer of hope that we could see Zion truly back, and that’s great for basketball. It’s been a rough five years since he entered the NBA. Perennial foot problems, paired with weight fluctuation and concerns over his work ethic have turned Williamson into one of the NBA’s most mercurial stars. An unquestionable superstar when at his best, but at times in the past he didn’t seem to have the desire to reach for greatness.
That feels different in 2023-24. While the numbers don’t back it up, Williamson has been giving the most effort of his career so far. Against the Jazz he finished with 17 points and 11 assists, being a key facilitator as well as finisher.
Here’s hoping there’s more of this to come.