Vince Carter has showered praise on Duke Blue Devils sensation Zion Williamson, who he says is ready for the NBA.
Carter, the fifth-overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft, came into the league with a reputation of being a high-flyer and had to prove that he was more than just a highlight reel.
Williamson, 18, seems set for that very path but Carter reckons the college star will have no difficulty proving his worth on other fronts as well.
"He'll be ready [for the NBA]," the Atlanta Hawks veteran told ESPN. "One thing I learned when I got in this league is that yes, I'm athletic, but there's gonna be a lot of guys up here that are athletic. What else do you bring to the table? I think he's going through that phase, kind of what I went through.
"Everybody looks at 'he can dunk, he can dunk,' but now when you have guys that are super athletic, then they're going to start saying, 'What else can he do?'"
Williamson is now the most popular college player around and has already stacked an impressive highlight reel of his own. The explosive forward is also able to guard multiple positions and is an excellent rim protector whose athleticism has made him a scary shot blocker.
ESPN has projected that Zion will be the No.1 pick in the next draft and Carter agrees that there's no question his will be the first name called out if he decides to make himself available for consideration.
"He's super, super athletic," the eight-time All-Star added. "He has an NBA body already. I think, more than anything, with all his ability, I just say take his time, develop his game, because when you get here, it's a different beast as far as expectations. A lot of guys try to get here and just develop while they get here.
"He has the potential to be, obviously, the No. 1 pick whenever he decides to come out," Carter said. "I think that's understood."
What This Means
Williamson is best known for his ability to really get up there, but he has shown that he can do it all.
The North Carolina native can shoot the ball, defend and is also an adept passer. He will have to show his expansive range of skills just as Carter had to when he broke out in Toronto with the Raptors. But it will be a bit difficult to shake off the 'dunker' label right away, and it just might stick with him throughout his career.