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Thread: Zion!

  1. #61
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    Feb 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrazyNotCrazie View Post
    I overlapped with Grant Hill at Duke and I think he is a lot more comparable to RJ than Zion. Grant was an incredible player to watch - so smooth and seemingly effortless. He would often make truly incredible plays (such as "the alley-oop") but he didn't have the wow factor that Zion has - you would just look up at the end of the game and realize what an excellent game he had had, and you could always count on him in the clutch. I think RJ is quite similar, though his defense isn't near where Grant's was. RJ makes his highlight reel plays but overall he blends in more.

    Zion is much more bright lights than Grant was. This doesn't make him better or worse, just different. I am just amazed at how he manages to handle it all in such a calm, humble manner at age 18/19.
    I would put the smoothest Blue Devil ever up there with anyone. It's not Grant. It's Johnny Dawkins. He was mighty exciting to watch as well. He was playground smooth.

    He may be the only person I ever saw who actually floated in the air. Future Hall of Fame referee Hank Nichols even looked amazed when it happened, in Carmichael Auditorium one afternoon. I was almost sitting under the basket, holding a Yashica-Mat Twin Lens Reflex camera that had no film in it. It was a prop I needed to look like maybe, just maybe, I was an official photographer. But I was an imposter. I was there to see Johnny Dawkins float, and I was not disappointed.


    WWJDD
    Man, if your Mom made you wear that color when you were a baby, and you're still wearing it, it's time to grow up!

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troublemaker View Post
    Yeah, and there's no need to restrict it to just freshmen. I doubt Duke has ever had a player - senior, junior, whatever -- with Zion's PER
    I wonder what Laettner's best PER was. I'm sure it was better than Kyrie's.

    Laettner's final 2 seasons at Duke were pretty remarkable statistically:

    Junior year: 19.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.9 spg, 1.1 bpg, 58% FG, 34% 3FG, 81% FT
    Senior year: 21.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.1 spg, 0.9 bpg, 58% FG, 56% 3FG, 82% FT

    He's pretty close, but I think Zion still edges him out with his ridiculous 70.4 true shooting %. But to think, Zion is on pace right now to surpass Laettner's senior year in terms of efficiency . . . what are we even witnessing right now? This is insane.
    Last edited by kAzE; 01-29-2019 at 11:43 AM.

  3. #63
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    Durham, NC
    I'll add that Brand and Boozer aren't getting talked up enough for Mt. Rushmore status (although they don't make the cut).

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    DMB Twitter posted this photo with the headline: Real Life or a Video Game?



    -Jason "for the DMB Top 5 plays from the game they cheated... the #1 play is all 4 of Zion's ridiculous blocks" Evans
    Best photo of it I have seen. Even had the presence of mind to shuffle the ball to Cam as he was going down.

    My favorite part of this was the look on his face as he got up and started walking. There seemed to be a fleeting even I canít believe I just did that look

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    I'll add that Brand and Boozer aren't getting talked up enough for Mt. Rushmore status (although they don't make the cut).
    Boozer was much better than expected in the pros, but I don't think he makes the top 10. There's too many good Duke players.

    But actually, I think Brand is a real contender. I forgot about him. His career was also derailed by a really bad injury. He's definitely ahead of Tatum for #5, and he might have a decent case over Jason Williams in the top 4, but I think Williams gets the slight edge for having won the national championship.

  6. #66
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    Great Falls Va
    I just missed David Thompson. For those that saw them both - how does Zion compare?

  7. #67
    Interesting article on how Zion would be best used as a point guard/center.

    https://www.theringer.com/nba/2019/1...n-point-center

  8. #68
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    Durham, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by kAzE View Post
    Boozer was much better than expected in the pros, but I don't think he makes the top 10.

    But actually, I think Brand is a real contender. I forgot about him. His career was also derailed by a really bad injury. He's definitely ahead of Tatum for #5, and he might have a decent case over Jason Williams in the top 4, but Williams gets the slight edge for having won the national championship.
    It seems like in terms of most talented ever, we're probably looking at a list like below, with a fair drop-off after that point. List is loosely in chronological order as I try not to forget anyone.

    Grant Hill^
    Johnny Dawkins
    Christian Laettner^
    Elton Brand^
    Carlos Boozer
    Shane Battier
    Jason Williams^
    Zion Williamson
    Jason Tatum
    JJ Redick+
    Bobby Hurley+^
    Kyrie Irving*

    *Undoubtedly one of the most talented basketball players to attend Duke University, but can't go on my Mt. Rushmore with so few games played here
    +These guys are borderline but I think belong in this list out of respect
    ^These players all suffered significant setbacks due to injury and would have had much more impressive pro careers otherwise (which we have to factor in or else Jason Williams wouldn't make the list)

    I think Grant Hill should be consensus. A lot of us agree that Zion projects to be there as well. At that point, filling the last two spots is essentially splitting hairs, and depends a lot on how you define "talent" and the weight you give to various accomplishments (championships, college awards, pro awards, etc.) and how you weigh peak performance vs. longevity/consistency, as well as how willing you are to project forward for younger guys like Tatum. Also, please call me out if I forgot someone!

  9. #69
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    Raleigh
    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    It seems like in terms of most talented ever, we're probably looking at a list like below, with a fair drop-off after that point. List is loosely in chronological order as I try not to forget anyone.

    Grant Hill^
    Johnny Dawkins
    Christian Laettner^
    Elton Brand^
    Carlos Boozer
    Shane Battier
    Jason Williams^
    Zion Williamson
    Jason Tatum
    JJ Redick+
    Bobby Hurley+^
    Kyrie Irving*

    *Undoubtedly one of the most talented basketball players to attend Duke University, but can't go on my Mt. Rushmore with so few games played here
    +These guys are borderline but I think belong in this list out of respect
    ^These players all suffered significant setbacks due to injury and would have had much more impressive pro careers otherwise (which we have to factor in or else Jason Williams wouldn't make the list)

    I think Grant Hill should be consensus. A lot of us agree that Zion projects to be there as well. At that point, filling the last two spots is essentially splitting hairs, and depends a lot on how you define "talent" and the weight you give to various accomplishments (championships, college awards, pro awards, etc.) and how you weigh peak performance vs. longevity/consistency, as well as how willing you are to project forward for younger guys like Tatum. Also, please call me out if I forgot someone!
    I never saw him play but Art Heyman probably should be added to your list.
    [redacted] them and the horses they rode in on.

  10. #70
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    Feb 2016
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    Atlanta
    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    It seems like in terms of most talented ever, we're probably looking at a list like below, with a fair drop-off after that point. List is loosely in chronological order as I try not to forget anyone.

    Grant Hill^
    Johnny Dawkins
    Christian Laettner^
    Elton Brand^
    Carlos Boozer
    Shane Battier
    Jason Williams^
    Zion Williamson
    Jason Tatum
    JJ Redick+
    Bobby Hurley+^
    Kyrie Irving*

    *Undoubtedly one of the most talented basketball players to attend Duke University, but can't go on my Mt. Rushmore with so few games played here
    +These guys are borderline but I think belong in this list out of respect
    ^These players all suffered significant setbacks due to injury and would have had much more impressive pro careers otherwise (which we have to factor in or else Jason Williams wouldn't make the list)

    I think Grant Hill should be consensus. A lot of us agree that Zion projects to be there as well. At that point, filling the last two spots is essentially splitting hairs, and depends a lot on how you define "talent" and the weight you give to various accomplishments (championships, college awards, pro awards, etc.) and how you weigh peak performance vs. longevity/consistency, as well as how willing you are to project forward for younger guys like Tatum. Also, please call me out if I forgot someone!

    Duke basketball did exist before the Coach K era. We have payed in the Final Four in every decade since the 60's.

    I didn't see Heyman, Groat, Mullins and some of those players, but I have to believe they deserve some consideration. I did see G-man, and he was impressive. There are some incredible players who don't have their numbers in the rafters either. Players like Gene Banks who were incredibly athletic.

    I won't begin to try to make my own list. I don't even know what the criteria are. I do know that Bagley was amazing, and now we are seeing a season that surpasses even that!

    We have an abundance of riches as Duke fans. Most schools will look fondly at one or 2 players over decades that were head and shoulders above the rest. We may have 20 or more such players that would be gods at 325 other DI schools.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utley View Post
    I just missed David Thompson. For those that saw them both - how does Zion compare?
    Keep in mind that DT played in an era with no shot clock, no-3-point shot, no dunking.

    He was in the last class before freshman eligibility. But as a freshman, he was touted as one of the ten best players in the NCAA and having seen him as a freshman, I concur. He averaged something like 36 ppg as a freshman.

    Thompson was much more of a perimeter player than Zion. He was 6-4, about 190. Spectacular leaper, quick, great body control, great ball skills. He was one of these players who could get anywhere he wanted on the floor and do whatever he wanted once he got there.

    And he had a killer instinct. Stone-cold assassin with the game on the line.

    Obviously, he didn't do the dirty work inside. After all, he played two seasons with Tommy Burleson and also had physical guys like Tim Stoddard and Phil Spence.

    He didn't shoot a lot from way outside but there was no bonus for that. Under today's rules, I have no doubt that he would have been a solid 3-point shooter, perhaps better than solid.

    He had some great pro seasons, once averaging over 27 ppg in an NBA season. Substance abuse problems shortened his pro career, unfortunately.

    It's impossible to compare a OAD like Williamson to a player from Thompson's era. But I've long felt that DT was the best player in ACC history by a wide margin and in the mix for no. 2 overall, behind Alcindor/Jabbar. He was that good.

    And of course, he played in an era when he was playing against great juniors and seniors, the kind of players who don't stick around to become upperclassmen these days.

    Give Williamson three years at Duke and maybe we're having a different discussion.

    But best ACC player ever? Still, David Thompson. IMO

  12. #72
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    Feb 2008
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    Lewisville, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Utley View Post
    I just missed David Thompson. For those that saw them both - how does Zion compare?
    Just my impressions:
    David Thompson was a very good shooter, excellent jump shot, well out to current 3-point area, so an edge there to DT; Thompson could also drive, score in transition, and get a good share of put backs, but overall I'd give Zion the edge in the paint, just too big and quick to be defended effectively. Ball handling and passing -- both pretty good, but neither was predominant ball handler on his team; free throws -- edge to Thompson, who was a career 76.3% foul shooter; defense -- gotta go with Zion; he can defend multiple positions and his ability to block or alter shots is a plus. Athletic ability -- jaw dropping for both, so explosive; it's hard to comprehend Zion is doing this at something around 275 pounds, so he has the advantage in power

    Overall, David Thompson has been my default answer to "best ACC player ever", but Zion may be approaching that level. Seems almost irreverent to speak such thoughts.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmduke2001 View Post
    Interesting article on how Zion would be best used as a point guard/center.

    https://www.theringer.com/nba/2019/1...n-point-center
    I saw this article, and I agree that Zion needs to get more touches. It seems like Coach K is starting to agree.

    To me, it seems like Zion has been the clear #1 option on offense in recent games, with RJ taking a noticeable step back in usage when compared to the early portion of the season. True, RJ usually still takes more shots on the box score, but Zion has been given more opportunities as of late to create from the perimeter than he did earlier in the season. At this point, it's not uncommon at all for him to be the guy bringing the ball up the court, even with Tre Jones in the game.

    Not sure if this trend will continue, but hopefully it does. I think everyone should agree at this point that Zion needs to be the focal point on offense if this team is going to reach it's maximum potential.

  14. #74
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    Feb 2007
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    MKE
    Quote Originally Posted by kAzE View Post
    Boozer was much better than expected in the pros, but I don't think he makes the top 10. There's too many good Duke players.

    But actually, I think Brand is a real contender. I forgot about him. His career was also derailed by a really bad injury. He's definitely ahead of Tatum for #5, and he might have a decent case over Jason Williams in the top 4, but I think Williams gets the slight edge for having won the national championship.
    Since we're factoring in NBA success, here's a list of the top NBA seasons by Duke players by win-share:

    http://bkref.com/tiny/7pwk9

    The best season was Elton Brand in '05-'06, when he averaged 24.7 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks, and was a fringe MVP candidate. Next was Hill in '96-'96, when he averaged 21.4/9.0/7.3. Brand and Hill share the top 4 spots.

    Kyrie, it should be noted, suffers on this list because of injury-shortened seasons. If he stays healthy for the rest of the current season, he could make his way into the top five.

  15. #75
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    New Orleans, Louisiana
    Quote Originally Posted by JasonEvans View Post
    ...But, when I think about the team I would put together that would be the best team of Dukies I could put on the floor, Zion is threatening to blast down the door and be on that team. Up until now, for me that team has been:

    PG- JWill
    SG- JJ
    SF- Grant
    PF- Shane
    C- Christian

    I am beginning to wonder if Zion forces his way onto that team ahead of Shane... I'm not there yet, but I am getting closer with every game.
    Try this exercise. 5-on-5, any player who has ever been on a Duke men's basketball team, measured by his best single college season. The teams are drafted as follows:

    1. Person 1 takes Zion Williamson.

    2. Person 2 picks 5 players.

    3. Person 1 picks 4 players to join Zion.

    Jason provides a plausible example above of Person 2's choices: Jason Williams/JJ Redick/Grant Hill/Shane Battier/Christian Laettner. A terrific lineup, no doubt. Built to win, with the added chemistry benefit of having two pairs of players that played together (Williams/Battier, Hill/Laettner).

    But would you automatically assume victory over Person 1's lineup when it can include Zion Williamson at power forward, plus your choice of Kyrie Irving or Bobby Hurley at point, Johnny Dawkins or RJ Barrett at shooting guard, Art Heyman or Jayson Tatum at small forward, and Elton Brand or Danny Ferry at center? (Or anyone else you prefer: Tyus Jones, Bob Verga, Jim Spanarkel, Marvin Bagley, Shelden Williams, Mike Gminski...)

    How would that go? We'll never know, but in my mind I draw two conclusions: (1) no matter who Person 2 picks, I like Person 1's chances; and (2) I'm not sure Person 1 would agree to this draft arrangement for anyone other than Zion Williamson.

  16. #76
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    Greenville, SC
    Quote Originally Posted by roywhite View Post
    Just my impressions:
    David Thompson was a very good shooter, excellent jump shot, well out to current 3-point area, so an edge there to DT; Thompson could also drive, score in transition, and get a good share of put backs, but overall I'd give Zion the edge in the paint, just too big and quick to be defended effectively. Ball handling and passing -- both pretty good, but neither was predominant ball handler on his team; free throws -- edge to Thompson, who was a career 76.3% foul shooter; defense -- gotta go with Zion; he can defend multiple positions and his ability to block or alter shots is a plus. Athletic ability -- jaw dropping for both, so explosive; it's hard to comprehend Zion is doing this at something around 275 pounds, so he has the advantage in power

    Overall, David Thompson has been my default answer to "best ACC player ever", but Zion may be approaching that level. Seems almost irreverent to speak such thoughts.
    In my history of attending basketball games David Thompson was the only opposing player I have paid good money to go and see when his team wasn't playing Duke, just because he was playing in the game. If Zion were not a Devil I might do the same. I have a similar anticipation to their play.

    They have/had different styles. David Thompson had an elegance about his play, possibly enhanced because he wasn't allowed to dunk. I also seem to recall that he once blocked a Bill Walton shot in college.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by devildeac View Post
    I never saw him play but Art Heyman probably should be added to your list.
    Quote Originally Posted by BandAlum83 View Post
    Duke basketball did exist before the Coach K era. We have payed in the Final Four in every decade since the 60's.

    I didn't see Heyman, Groat, Mullins and some of those players, but I have to believe they deserve some consideration. I did see G-man, and he was impressive. There are some incredible players who don't have their numbers in the rafters either. Players like Gene Banks who were incredibly athletic.

    I won't begin to try to make my own list. I don't even know what the criteria are. I do know that Bagley was amazing, and now we are seeing a season that surpasses even that!

    We have an abundance of riches as Duke fans. Most schools will look fondly at one or 2 players over decades that were head and shoulders above the rest. We may have 20 or more such players that would be gods at 325 other DI schools.
    I meant to include some caveat about modern era, but obviously forgot to do that, mea culpa. Even looking back to older players, I think Mullins is the only one who qualifies if we are factoring professional success into the mix. Heyman didn't do much after Duke, and Groat's pro-career in basketball was short as well (for different reasons). He wasn't mentioned by name, but Ferry also falls short based on his pro career. All were obviously stellar college players, with their jerseys retired, but you'll note I excluded some more modern players with jerseys in the rafters as well (I probably should have just omitted Hurley and maybe JJ entirely in support of this point, they were effectively honorable mentions for the purposes of this list as the footnote tried to make clear).

    If we're talking about greatest Duke players of all time looking only at college careers, I think those guys are solidly part of the "greatest" conversation, but that isn't quite the conversation we're having here as best I can tell based on other comments in the thread and stated criteria being used.

    I prefer to stick to "modern era" because it gets really hard to compare "greatness" across generations, which is evident whenever any "greatest of all time" debate starts.

  18. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by killerleft View Post
    I would put the smoothest Blue Devil ever up there with anyone. It's not Grant. It's Johnny Dawkins. He was mighty exciting to watch as well. He was playground smooth.

    He may be the only person I ever saw who actually floated in the air. Future Hall of Fame referee Hank Nichols even looked amazed when it happened, in Carmichael Auditorium one afternoon. I was almost sitting under the basket, holding a Yashica-Mat Twin Lens Reflex camera that had no film in it. It was a prop I needed to look like maybe, just maybe, I was an official photographer. But I was an imposter. I was there to see Johnny Dawkins float, and I was not disappointed.


    WWJDD
    Johnny D. dunked on the Admiral in the 86 eastern regionals! Enough said.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Acymetric View Post
    I meant to include some caveat about modern era, but obviously forgot to do that, mea culpa. Even looking back to older players, I think Mullins is the only one who qualifies if we are factoring professional success into the mix. Heyman didn't do much after Duke, and Groat's pro-career in basketball was short as well (for different reasons). He wasn't mentioned by name, but Ferry also falls short based on his pro career. All were obviously stellar college players, with their jerseys retired, but you'll note I excluded some more modern players with jerseys in the rafters as well (I probably should have just omitted Hurley and maybe JJ entirely in support of this point, they were effectively honorable mentions for the purposes of this list as the footnote tried to make clear).

    If we're talking about greatest Duke players of all time looking only at college careers, I think those guys are solidly part of the "greatest" conversation, but that isn't quite the conversation we're having here as best I can tell based on other comments in the thread and stated criteria being used.

    I prefer to stick to "modern era" because it gets really hard to compare "greatness" across generations, which is evident whenever any "greatest of all time" debate starts.
    If we're factoring in NBA success, then multiple all-stars Jack Marin and Luol Deng seem to be under-valued.

  20. #80
    It is amazing how in 20/30 years the world has changed in college basketball ( for recent graduates, 30 years ago likely seems like an eternity but for those who went to school during the Christian Laettner era, it does not seem that long ago) . There was a time when players came to Duke and debated whether to leave early (Laettner, Hill, Williams, Battier). Now you have Scottie Pippen advocating their leaving two months into the season.

    I am not necessarily convinced that Zion is more dominant than the four guys I noted above although the dominance that the others demonstrated were not as freshmen. That being said, no one was asking them to take that large a role as freshmen Ė perhaps Williams excepted.

    To state the obvious, where Zion is so special and unique is that he is a true dancing bull. It just seems impossible for someone to be that large and that mobile. Some make comparisons to Shaquille OíNeal Ė and I watched Christian Laettner school Shaquille at Duke - but as a freshman Shaq was much more raw than Zion.

    I just donít think that there has ever been a dancing bull like Zion. I have no idea whether he will dominate in the pros but regardless, he is an incredibly unique college basketball player.

    Zion - Toro Bailando!!

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