The unexpected and sudden Zion Williamson ouster from the NCAA Tournament raises questions for the New York Knicks.
The Final Four was supposed to belong to Zion Williamson. Next year, the greater New York area could belong to him.
Throughout the regular season, Williamson incurred nearly every camera possible during his nationally televised games. In the NCAA tournament, his presence became intensified.
Most of America would see the 18-year-old, 6-foot-7, 285-pound sculpture of the new dominant figure in all of basketball.
New York Knicks‘ fans would begin to fantasize about him playing in the Garden next winter.
He was to lead his Duke Blue Devils to the Final Four and an NCAA championship. Have a few final moments on the floor with his legendary coach and give a succinct, yet eloquent to Jim Nantz.
Then Williamson would take his first steps as the top pick in June’s NBA Draft.
However, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo had other ideas.
In the first 10 minutes of the second half in a game that had as many lead changes as one expected in a tight game, Williamson showed why some people regard him as a generational talent better than Lebron James.
He scored 13 points, grabbed numerous rebounds, and appeared ready to lead the Blue Devils to San Antonio.
But Izzo made life in the lane more difficult for Williamson with two bodies surrounding him and limited him to four points and two rebounds down the stretch.
Duke fans were in shock, but Knicks’ fans were in anticipation.
Williamson, who undoubtedly will now declare and be the top pick, took the high road after the game.
“A lot is going through our mind right now,” said Williamson as he addressed the media. “We’re very upset, obviously, because you know we wanted to go to the Final Four. But, congrats to Michigan State, they deserve it.”
Do the Knicks and their fans now deserve Williamson?
Williamson has been the most dominant big man in the college ranks; there isn’t any player who has been able to slow him down. His strength, power and speed have been hard to contain in the paint. He has shown the ability to step out and hit the jumper and three on occasion.
James has helped set the stage for him, as time apparently isn’t on the Laker forward’s side anymore.
Yet, this shouldn’t be regarded as James 2.0.
Williamson doesn’t have the ability to play outside like James and he will have more battles in the NBA than against Michigan State. Joel Embiid and the “Greek Freak” immediately come to mind as some classic showdowns.
Still, the Knicks need him to revive a franchise that hasn’t seen the postseason in 18 years. There is a better chance to see Williamson wearing a Knicks uniform than Kevin Durant.
All you have to do is think about how Patrick Ewing came to the Knicks in 1985.
Now, almost 35 years later, another savior is on the horizon.