NBA legend Charles Barkley is questioning the hype around Zion Williamson, who is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s draft.
During an appearance on KESN/103.3 FM ESPN Radio earlier this week, Barkley expressed doubt Williamson will make an immediate impact when he enters the league.
“He seems like a great kid but this notion that he’s going to come in and dominate the NBA is crazy,” Barkley said (via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram).
Williamson, the 18-year-old prospect from Duke, is a virtual lock to be the first player off the board in a matter of weeks when the Pelicans are on the clock. The Pelicans entered Tuesday’s lottery with a 6% chance to earn the No. 1 pick, but unexpectedly jumped up to win the top selection in the NBA Draft on June 20.
However, ESPN reported after the lottery that Williamson was hoping the Knicks would end up with the selection. They entered the lottery in a three-way tie with the top odds for the No. 1 pick.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” Williamson said of playing with the Pelicans. “But, it’s not sure until it actually happens. … Whatever the team (that selects me) needs me to do, I’m going to be able to do it.”
His stepfather, Lee Anderson, said Williamson is excited about the possibility of joining New Orleans and he shut down any rumors about Williamson returning to Duke.
“I spoke with coach (Alvin) Gentry the other night and we met with Mr. David Griffin,” Anderson told the “Off the Bench” radio show on ESPN 104.5 in Baton Rouge. “We had a great conversation and we’re excited about the prospect of coming down there, getting settled, looking for a place to stay and all those good things.”
“And about returning to Duke, there has been a lot of speculation but that is nothing we have even considered.”