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TigerinATL
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Feb 2005
52039 posts

Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
Nice article from the Ringer on how the Pels pace and focus on transition is allowing Zion to work with a post up game that has largely been eradicated in the NBA.

quote:

For traditional big men, this era is a Darwinian turning point: adapt or die. Some stretched their range to become floor spacers. Others specialized in the pick-and-roll. Zion has shown another, unseen possibility: a distinctly modern form of post play, drawing on speed as much as strength.

...There’s just nothing a welterweight like Denver’s Gary Harris can do in that scenario. Most teams aren’t fully considering their own defensive mismatches while still on offense; forcing an opponent into a switch or a rotation is essentially the goal, seeing as it creates a new angle for the player with the ball to exploit. Yet if Williamson is the player switching or rotating, that could leave a helpless guard to grapple with a 285-pound rhinoceros running to the front of the rim. Part of what doomed old-fashioned post play was that it became so deliberate. Defenses could see what was coming, line up their strongest defender, and position their help before the ball ever made it to the block. Zion is starting many of his post-ups as the first man down the floor, all while the defense scrambles to get in front of the ball and attend to potential shooters.

...Just nine games into his career, you can already see the underlying terror of Zion’s game. NBA coaches have tailored their defenses around his involvement and still wind up changing their approach over the course of a game. Williamson isn’t even in shape yet, and still he’ll beat defenders down the floor, and beat some of the best rebounders in the league to the ball—including on his own misses. Due to the attention Zion draws, an already elite marksman like JJ Redick can shoot 10 percent better from beyond the arc when the two share the floor. These are vital contributions for a Pelicans team vying for the playoffs, five games back of the eighth seed.

...The first wave of Zion’s impact is devastating enough. Pelicans opponents already can’t afford to switch, cross-match, or lose sight of him whenever a shot goes up. Worse is the reality check that comes at the end of a long night of scheming around the enormity of him. This week, Zion put up 31 points, nine rebounds, and five assists against the Blazers; it’s the easiest containing him will ever be.


There's a lot more at the LINK including some video clips
This post was edited on 2/13 at 8:16 am


Upperdecker
LSU Fan
St. George, LA
Member since Nov 2014
21019 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
They don’t know how to defend the post up anymore, and Zion is hammering them with it. He’s so strong he can back almost anyone down, and so fast and explosive he can get around anyone he can’t back down. He’s actually perfect for posting up


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
5808 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
I was just coming here to post this. It's a great article.

The main point of it is that the "transition post-up" is really a new thing that Zion is creating, and that it's essentially unstoppable.

I really liked this paragraph near the end:

quote:

If the Pelicans make themselves into a serious contender in the coming years, opposing teams may have to start rostering players specifically to guard him. There’s just no other way to handle a player this big, this quick, and this smart. If Williamson’s early passing is any indication, even running double-teams at him will come with diminishing returns.


I think that's right. Zion is going to be the first big guy since Shaq that teams will react to by keeping a guy on the roster specifically to guard -- not that I expect that there will be very many players who fit that bill, but anyone who can limit Zion at all is going to be in demand, even if he has no offensive game.


Milesahead
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2007
293 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
I dont think knowledge is their biggest liability. He has an unmatched combo of size, strength, and athleticism. Physically, very few are blessed to ve able to "match up" with him.


Mad Scientist26
Member since Jul 2018
989 posts
 Online 

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
I agree but I think Giannis will be his toughest opponent. He is taller than him and can match up athletically. Also, maybe Ben Simmons to a lesser extent. However, those two being dominant and playing to their strengths (low post players with athletic ability and not jacking up 3’s all day) will also help the NBA change from a pick up game style (no defense and 80 3’s a game) to a more structured enjoyable flow.


Milesahead
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2007
293 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
Coaches will not want Giannis or Ben to guard Zion for an entire game. He will draw too many fouls and wear them out. Perhaps in crunch time but no way they are main defender for an entire game.

Both would be giving up 40+ pounds to Zion and it would be reasonable to assume that even Giannis would lack Zion's strength.

I dont think we see teams trying to defend Zion with just one guy. If they allow him to get the ball near the goal, he is too efficient. I think we see more teams trying to deny him the ball. Put a strong player on him to wear on him and someone else attempting to deny entry passes.



Hester Carries
USA Fan
Member since Sep 2012
14071 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

They don’t know how to defend the post up anymore, and Zion is hammering them with it. He’s so strong he can back almost anyone down, and so fast and explosive he can get around anyone he can’t back down. He’s actually perfect for posting up



Yes BUT.

There are times in a game when the other teams 5 is looking at Zion as he dribbles just inside the 3 pt line and im screaming "Go at him straight up...Use your speed" and he turns around and starts backing up".

He should back down weak guys and blow by big guys.

He started doing that last game.


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TigerinATL
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Feb 2005
52039 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

it would be reasonable to assume that even Giannis would lack Zion's strength.



Yes, that would be a reasonable assumption.



The guy coming to mind as a type who could maybe defend him is Anthony Mason. Strong as an ox, nimble for his size, not afraid to mix it up or play dirty. But even he was a pretty unique mix of physical traits that the league doesn't see regularly.

The League is just fricked.

Sorry, not sorry.
This post was edited on 2/13 at 10:55 am


Mad Scientist26
Member since Jul 2018
989 posts
 Online 

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
He’s more Charles Barkley/Young Shaq than Anthony Mason.

I was saying that Giannis can match up with him and vice versa. That doesn’t mean that Zion won’t get the best of him from time to time.


GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
5808 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

He’s more Charles Barkley


But Barkley couldn't jump. I like the Shawn Kemp and Larry Johnson comps better, but there's just not a good comp for Zion.


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VOR
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Lap of Luxury
Member since Apr 2009
59812 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
I don’t disagree, but I’m not sure I think of his post game as “traditional”


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bouxdag
Member since Jun 2019
88 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
To me there’s not a direct comparison in terms of style of play vs athleticism vs body type. He’s one of one.

But in general it reminds me of Shaq in that no one can really match up with him. You see defenders with that same “wtf am I supposed to do” look when they get whistled for a foul or Zion gets his own rebound and puts it back in. Defenders just look completely demoralized.


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50
corndeaux
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Sep 2009
9526 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
Great read. Thanks for the share.

This is something they started doing with Davis a couple years ago. Having him post up during opponent FTs and Rondo throwing him half court entry passes. Zion takes it to another level though because of his physical abilities.


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TigerinATL
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Feb 2005
52039 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

He’s more Charles Barkley/Young Shaq than Anthony Mason.



I wasn’t talking about a Zion comp, I was trying to think of the type of player who could possibly defend him.


Upperdecker
LSU Fan
St. George, LA
Member since Nov 2014
21019 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

I dont think knowledge is their biggest liability.

No it’s not. But you can bet a 90s era PF or Center would have a much better chance against him than the ones today that rarely guard post ups


Chad504boy
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Feb 2005
138095 posts
 Online 

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
we did see length can bother zion though.


Colonel Flagg
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2010
17410 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
The only comparable player to Zion is Lebron.

James could play similarly in the post, but has chosen to be more ball dominant on the wing.

For 19 it is crazy to think how Zion is so good posting up and scoring through the ridiculous contact.


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Colonel Flagg
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Apr 2010
17410 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

we did see length can bother zion though.


It took a three headed monster in the paint to slow him down. The Pels were also very successful most of the game for a young team still learning together.


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Milesahead
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Sep 2007
293 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
Like another poster said, I think it had more to do with numbers vs just height. Take game vs Tacko as an example: sure, he can block and alter some shots...but Zion is fearless. He still scores and often gets the ball back after misses or blocked shots. He is too fast/explosive for true big men. Zion's mass is a problem for smaller guys. His width, strength, and jump creates space.
This post was edited on 2/13 at 11:32 am


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20
CocoLoco
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Jan 2012
28880 posts

re: Zion Is Resurrecting The Post Up
quote:

There’s just no other way to handle a player this big, this quick, and this smart. If Williamson’s early passing is any indication, even running double-teams at him will come with diminishing returns.


He is used in a similar way that Giannis is used, they just have different freakish attributes that create mismatches. With Giannis it's his length and wingspan, with Zion it's his strength and athleticism. He is as much of a wing as he is a big. He is already has a higher impact on a game than what year 2 AD had and is what year 7-8 AD was as a distributor. He will be a 5+ APG guy one they really let him get involved as a point forward.


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