‘Shaquille O’Neal-Type’: Mavericks Coach Praises Force of Nature Zion Williamson

Published 03/28/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Jan 8, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) dunks the ball against Charlotte Hornets guard Terry Rozier (3) during the third quarter at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports


Dallas Mavericks fell to New Orleans Pelicans last night, courtesy of Zion Williamson. The diminutive Power Forward was not only unstoppable in the low post but also created some excellent plays for his teammates with the ball in in his hand.

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In the 112-103 win, Zion had 38 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. More importantly, he had the Mavs defender in foul trouble for much of the game. In total, he went to the free throw line a mammoth 18 times.

Mar 27, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Dallas Mavericks center Boban Marjanovic (51) fouls New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) as he goes to the basket during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

For Carlisle, it brought back memories of a similarly dominant player. Someone who could play with contact and still attack the rim at will, though with better ball handling skills.

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“He’s an unusual force and obviously a great player. We’ll have to figure something a little better out next time, but he’s doing this to everybody. We did have some very good possessions guarding him, but he was a beast,” Carlisle said in the post-game interviews.

“It presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials. He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”

‘You need a lot of courage to defend Zion Williamson’ – Rick Carlisle

The Pelicans forward is breaking records with ease now. He recently overtook Luka Doncic and LeBron James for the most consecutive 20-point games before his 21st birthday.

In comparison to them, he relies a lot on his physique to rattle his opponents. He comes at defenders like a train and according to Carlisle; he is something else –

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“You’ve got to have a lot of courage to stand in there and get run over by that guy, because he’s coming at you fast. He’s coming at you, like, it’s not just an Amtrak. It’s an Acela. It’s the fast one that doesn’t stop. It doesn’t stop in Westport or wherever. It just goes — phew! — straight to New York City. It’s something else.”

Mar 27, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) dribbles around Dallas Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber (42) during the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

The Hulk-esque player is just beginning to terrorize defenses. Finally, he is shaking off his injuries and becoming the player that we all expected him to become.

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DIVE DEEPER

Zion Williamson Makes History as He Adds His Name Next to Michael Jordan in Incredible Stat

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Bharat Aggarwal

684 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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