I, like most of the Basketball world believe that former Duke star Zion Williamson is the most exciting prospect to enter the NBA since Anthony Davis, or maybe even his team mate Lebron James. He’s explosive, heavy and skilled. But how tall is he?
What is Zion Williamson height? At the start of Zion Williamsons NBA career when he was drafted number 1 by the New Orleans Pelicans, he was officially listed as 6 ft 7 (201cm) with a weight of 285lbs. Experts and those close to him believe he is still growing and expect his height to increase and his weight to dip as he gets into professional athlete shape.
At 285lbs Zion Williamson is the second heaviest player in the NBA behind Boban Marjanović, listed as 290lbs. So how is Zion able to move so fast and jump so high as he is giving up 8inches to Boban and carrying almost the same weight?
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Is Zion Williamson physically perfect for the modern NBA?
The former Duke star looks set to dominate the NBA, both in terms of on court performance and engagement off it. He is charismatic, explosive and perfectly built to flourish in the modern NBA (checkout Zion Williamsons jersey here). What was once called “small ball” after the Golden State Warriors moved their power forwards to centre to defeat Lebron James’ Cavs in the 2015 NBA finals. This was in fact more about David Lee, but the collective memory of the NBA paints Draymond Green in that role now. This is due to his dominance since. What became known as “the Death line up” (Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green at centre) gave way to “The Hamptons 5” after Barnes was replaced by perennial All-star Kevin Durrant to start the 2016/17 season. It featured 5 players who could all shoot, pass and dribble at a high level. Draymond Green was the glue that made this possible as at 6ft7 with a 7ft1 wing span on defence he was able to both hang with perimeter players and wrestle with centres down low. This became known as small ball. Increasingly now, this style of playing 5 players who are competent to pass, dribble and shoot while being able to defend multiple positions, is referred to as “skill ball”. This was
driven home by the rise of players like Anthony Davis, Karl Anthony Towns and 2018/19 MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. All around the 7ft mark there is very little they cannot do at a high level. While we are talking about these “Unicorns”, let’s not forget former team mate of Draymond Green and the Unicorn before Unicorns were cool – Kevin Durrant.
In short, the days of the one-dimensional behemoth centre seem limited. If they aren’t doing multiple things at a high level to help the team win then a low efficiency post up isn’t going to get them paid or even keep their place in the league.
Enter Zion Williamson. He’s as heavy as the heaviest player in the NBA, he’s as fast and explosive as anyone listed above and potentially, he is as skilled as any of the leagues current crop of Unicorns. At 6 ft 7, 285lbs with a 6 ft 11 wing span he is very comparable to Draymond Green. He is however 10 years younger, more explosive than Draymond has ever been, has a better outside shot and it could be argued that within his first couple of seasons’ he will eclipse him for all round skill as well. Zion is entering the league at exactly the right time. Shaq recently claimed that if was a rookie now he’d have played more like Giannis than Wilt Chamberlain. In the 1990’s letting a 7ft 300lb centre push the ball up the floor and make plays just wasn’t done.
Zion has along way to go to prove he can be the centre piece of a title contender. He’s got to work on his game, get his weight under control and learn how to compete at the most elite of levels. I for one have no doubt he’s going to achieve this.
Let’s have a look at some other NBA stars from the ages and how their physical attributes influenced their career.
Lebron James Height
Lebron James stands at 6 ft 8. The 3-time NBA Champion has spanned many styles of play since entering the league straight from High School in 2003. His electric combination of skill, height, weight and speed have seen him ascend to the other side of the GOAT debate vs Michael Jordan. Deployed most of his career officially as a Small Forward, he is one of the elite passers in the game
often negating the need for a traditional Point Guard. As he ages many believe that a move to Power Forward to maximise his skill set and physical attributes will take place.
Michael Jordan Height
Michael Jordan was listed as 6 ft 6 during his playing career. He won 6 of 6 trips to the NBA finals. Broken up by a sabbatical to play Baseball. On his return from this break in 1995 he came up against Shaq and Penny’s Orlando team and found himself physically wanting, losing in the conference finals. He spent the summer bulking up and came back bigger and stronger than ever before. After 3 more back to back titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998 he would retire again. During his career Jordan played shooting guard, in today’s NBA he would probably see a lot of time at Small Forward.
Steph Curry Height
At 6 ft 3 Steph Curry is one of the most dynamic scorers the NBA has ever seen. He is small and slight and relies on his skill level to stay one (or 5) steps ahead of his opponents at all times. He’s famous for his shooting, able to get a shot off in the tiniest gap and bomb away efficiently from anywhere over the half court line. He has warped the dynamics of the game, constantly moving off the ball and with handling and passing skills that stop defenders physically imposing themselves on him. He is the first player to ever win MVP with a unanimous vote as he guided the Warriors to a record 73 wins in the 2015/16 season. He competes on defence and has developed that side of his game, but as he’s often the smallest player on the court, it’s always an angle other teams will try and expose.
Yao Ming Height
Yao Ming stands at 7 ft 6 and is one of the largest humans ever to play in the NBA. He had no small amount of skill either. During his all too short career with the Houston Rockets he had many battles with Shaq often besting him. In the modern NBA he may struggle to defend against the pick and roll when forced to switch. However, he’d more than make up for it with rim protection and point production on the other end.
Shaquille O’Neal is arguably the best centre in the game. At 7 ft 1 with a weight that fluctuated around 300lbs he was able to move with a speed and grace that set him apart. In his prime he was to strong, to skilled and to fast to be stopped. Aside from his significant ego (which was probably a strength) he had just one weakness. Free Throws. A weakness that Spurs Coach Greg Popovich exploited mercilessly, creating the “Hack-a-Shaq” technique that stopped the big man paying offence, forcing him to shoot (miss) free throws instead. It was so successful that it is still used today on much less dominant players.
Kevin Durrant Height
Kevin Durrant is listed as 6 ft 9. However, he is often referred to as being 7 feet tall. Either way with his long arms and flawless shooting stroke he was the first true unicorn. He can handle the ball and pass like an elite point guard, knock down shots in any situation and when called upon can protect the rim like he’s a 250lb centre. After his move to Golden State and winning back to back titles combined with finals MVP’s his ascendancy to best player on the planet was cut short by an injury in the 2019 Playoffs. His career will resume soon with the Brooklyn Nets.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Height
Giannis is a 6 ft 11 positionless monster. Jason Kidd pushed him to play at point guard during his time in charge of the Bucks. He is skilled, fast and strong. He dominates at both ends of the floor. Winning his first MVP in the 2018/19 season he even started to add a 3pt shot to his game by the end of the Playoffs. Able to play offence and defence in all 5 positions and with seemingly no weaknesses in his game if he becomes a good long-range shooter, he could dominate the NBA like no one has before him.
Bol Bol Height
Bol Bol is 7 ft 3 and is set to follow his father’s footsteps and enter the NBA in 2019. Manute Bol, 7 ft 7, still holds the record as the tallest NBA player ever.
Bol Bol is only 7 ft 3, but in theory possess a lot more skill than his father. After an injury plagued time in college the jury is still out.
Notable NBA Players Heights
|Player||Height (Ft)||Height (CM)|
|Manute Bol||7 ft 7||231|
|Yao Ming||7 ft 6||229|
|Bol Bol||7 ft 2||218|
|Kareem Abdul-Jabba||7 ft 2||218|
|Shaquille O’Neal||7 ft 1||216|
|Wilt Chamberlain||7 ft 1||216|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||7 ft 0||213|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||6 ft 11||211|
|Tim Duncan||6 ft 11||211|
|Bill Russell||6 ft 10||208|
|Moses Malone||6 ft 10||208|
|Kevin Durant||6 ft 9||206|
|Magic Johnson||6 ft 9||206|
|Larry Bird||6 ft 9||206|
|Karl Malone||6 ft 9||206|
|Bob Pettit||6 ft 9||206|
|Lebron James||6 ft 8||203|
|Zion Williamson||6 ft 7||201|
|Julis Erving||6 ft 7||201|
|Michael Jordan||6 ft 6||198|
|Kobe Bryant||6 ft 6||198|
|Charles Barkley||6 ft 6||198|
|James Harden||6 ft 5||196|
|Oscar Robertson||6 ft 5||196|
|John Havlicek||6 ft 5||196|
|Elgin Baylor||6 ft 5||196|
|Steph Curry||6 ft 3||190|
|Kyrie Irving||6 ft 3||190|
|Russell Westbrook||6 ft 3||190|
|Jerry West||6 ft 2||188|
|Muggsy Bogues||5 ft 3||160|