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God Help Us if Zion Williamson Keeps Knocking Down Threes

We all know the Duke phenom can dunk, but if he develops into a threat from outside...hoo boy.

by Liam Daniel Pierce
Jan 9 2019, 3:13pm

Kerim Okten/EPA-EFE

He's evolving. If there are any two words to make you even more terrified of Zion Williamson's prowess on the basketball court, it should be those. A player of his size and athleticism dunking all over the country already feels like the total package, but now he's knocking down threes, and opponents might need to change their pants about it.

Last night in Duke's 87-65 win against Wake Forest, Zion put on a clinic in just about every skillset in the game, posting a career high 30-points with 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and a block, all while going 80 percent—eighty—from the field; we haven't seen a stat line like that in 20 years, according to ESPN. But Zion hid something truly terrifying inside that line: three made three-pointers on four shots (he started off with an airball). Just, you know, something to keep in mind.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves here, he's only 28 percent from three on the season, and last night was only one game. But! Good lord, if this is a skill he develops, teams are going to have to start drawing straws to see who has to (try to) defend him each night. The season is young, and so is Zion (he is 18), so while he might not be the next Steph Curry, there's no reason he can't develop that outside shot into a respectable weapon. People, especially young people—did I mention he is 18?—can change, adapt. Like velociraptors.

He's building a level of confidence from deep, and he's all too aware of it.

"Coach is always telling me to shoot the ball, but if it's not falling, then I'm not going to. But after I shot that one over the rim, they were like, 'Z, shoot another one,' and I got it right back and made it. I think my confidence from 3 is getting a lot better."

Zion: not a liar.

If you thought that the writing wasn't on the wall already, just keep in mind what Zion's first shot at Duke looked like:

Zion has made it pretty clear from the outset: he's not here to fuck around.

We don't know what the future holds, and this is about as small as a sample size gets. Maybe his three-game is just a streak that will soon melt away. But for someone who already seems to be breaking the parameters of gravity, there's no visible ceiling for Zion so far. Because, mind you, the man is eightfreakingteen. Plenty of room to develop into something we've never quite seen before.