Tanking for Zion Williamson is the Most Interesting Thing in the NBA Right Now

By Jason McIntyre

After Zion Williamson’s efficiently scored 18 points on eight shots against the #1 defense in the country, and added five assists and three blocks, all in front of LeBron James and a large TV audience, it became clear to anyone who was watching: Boy, somebody’s going to get lucky three months from now at the NBA Draft lottery.

Williamson has been tremendous all season for Duke, but could he really continue to dominate at 285 pounds all season? Apparently, yes.

There’s no bigger deal in basketball right now than Williamson, and that includes the NBA. The Eastern Conference is moderately interesting, featuring an impressive team that hasn’t been out of the first round in a decade (Bucks); a team that could finally break through with LeBron gone (Raptors); a team that’s been underachieving but has the talent to push the Warriors (Celtics); and perhaps the most talented team that nobody thinks can stick together after this year (76ers). Out West, all anyone is watching for is whether or not LeBron can make the playoffs.

Zion is dominating the NBA conversation.

He’s great for tanking teams like the Knicks (currently lost 16 straight), and the Suns (losers of 14 in a row), along with the Cavs, Bulls and Hawks.

But what does it say about the current state of the NBA that right now, the most talked-about thing in the League is Zion Williamson, an 18-year old college basketball player at Duke?

This is why the NBA was dealt such a loss when the Pelicans foolishly refused to trade Anthony Davis last week. LeBron x Davis could at least possibly push the Warriors. This year, is anyone in the West taking two games off Golden State?

Meanwhile, Williamson is the runaway Player of the Year, a human highlight reel who cannot be contained, and he’s going to enter an NBA franchise next year with a large built-in audience. The aggressive tanking is only going to heighten over the final 25 games. The three teams with the worst record each have a 14% chance at Zion, which means the Bulls might have to start benching its starters if Chicago wants a shot at Williamson.

Even if Memphis lost 25 straight games, it probably wouldn’t be enough to slip into the Top 3 and have a shot.

That, sadly, is more important than any regular season game the rest of the way.