Now that it is confirmed that Zion Williamson will be making his NBA debut in the coming days, the hype surrounding him is bound to return. With that comes the question of Williamson’s Rookie of the Year chances.
So, would it be possible for Williamson to win the award without having played for half the season?
Why he will:
Simply, the hype. Williamson is arguably the most hyped-up player of all time. Williamson has seen it all. Everything from constantly being called the “next LeBron” to signing a $75 million dollar shoe deal before setting foot on an NBA court.
So, even if he just has an ok season, fans will likely still push for him to win. After all, the way he receives praise it should be expected that he wins nearly every award throughout his career. Plus, the Rookie of the Year can obviously only be won one time a career. Fans will push for this award hard.
Another reason would be that he really does put up the numbers to defend him winning the award. Right now Ja Morant is the favorite to win. Morant is an exciting player and taking the league by storm with his Derrick Rose-esque athletic ability. Morant is currently averaging 18 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game with the Grizzlies. Williamson’s Rookie of the Year chances are essentially 100% if he puts up similar numbers and the Pelicans find a way into the playoffs. If the team doesn’t make the playoffs then the chances are a lot slimmer.
Why he won’t:
This is a lot more simple of an answer. Going with the “hype” theme, the exact opposite situation could occur. Zion Williamson’s fatigue may come into play. If he doesn’t live up to the seemingly insurmountable hype, fans may turn on him quickly. Especially if the injuries keep piling up. Even if he puts up great numbers and the Pelicans manage a playoff run people might just be tired of hearing about him.
Another reason would be that he really doesn’t have the numbers to be considered. It would be surprising if he was not even in consideration, but with the seasons that his peers have been having Williamson will need to put up good numbers and be effective for the rest of the season. If he fails to do so then there is likely not a chance he is even in the top three candidates.
Finally, the injury concerns could come to fruition. Williamson has dealt with several injuries before playing an NBA game. When he comes back he may be told to hold back and ease his way into playing. If he does aggravate his injury or suffers another key one and is held out he obviously would not be able to win.
Williamson’s Rookie of the Year chance is still up in the air. It will take several games to see just how well he can adjust and if he is ready to play. Williamson will return for his NBA debut on January 22nd against the San Antonio Spurs.