NBA legend Scottie Pippen thinks Zion Williamson should sit out the rest of the NCAA season and prepare for the NBA Draft.
The Duke Blue Devils star is projected to be the top pick in this year's draft and Pippen, who was drafted by the Chicago Bulls as the fifth overall selection in 1987, reckons the youngster has done enough as a college player and should "shut it down" so he remains injury free.
The six-time NBA champion, a regular feature on ESPN's The Jump, discussed Williamson with host Rachel Nichols and former star Tracy McGrady. And both men agreed that the 18-year-old should quit while ahead.
"I think he's locked up the biggest shoe deal, I think he's definitely going to be the No. 1 pick, I think he's done enough for college basketball that it's more about him personally," Pippen said. "I would shut it down. I would stop playing because I feel he could risk a major injury that could really hurt his career."
McGrady did not agree with Pippen's claim of Zion being the best player in college. He doesn't even think that the high flyer is the best player on his team - he gives that to R.J. Barrett - but he does rate Williamson as the player who should be drafted at No.1 because he's more exciting and would attract more fans.
"Why not?," the former Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets shooting guard posed when asked for his take. "College football players are doing it, they're skipping the bowl and getting ready for the combine."
While McGrady thinks that Zion is the most exciting player in college basketball, and rightly so, the player recently said that he hates being classified as a dunker.
"I kind of hate being classified as a dunker," he told ESPN last week. "Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] wouldn't have recruited me if I was just a dunker.
"But I guess people on the outside don't understand that. I can't play to impress other people. I'm playing to get better for myself and my teammates and hopefully make a run for a national championship."
What This Means
Pippen makes a great point, there's really nothing more Williamson could do between now and the end of the season to improve his positioning in the upcoming draft. The player has averaged 21.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.9 blocks a game this season there's not much else to achieve, save a national championship.
As good as Scottie's advice is, there's little expectation that Zion will pull out for the rest of the season. He's too much of a hard worker to do that and he's well aware that Duke needs him to win it all this year.
The downside, of course, is the possibility of actually suffering an injury. But it doesn't appear that Zion is the type of player who would let that stop him.