First-time All-Star Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans has made significant strides in Year Two of his career. Among the reasons why, Williamson has taken it upon himself to appreciate and learn from veterans around him, both on his own team and on the opposition. On today’s episode of The Old Man and the Three with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter, he mentioned two Portland Trail Blazers — Carmelo Anthony and Damian Lillard — who were instrumental in that process.
When asked about his favorite players to compete against thus far, Williamson mentioned the two, in particular, detailed a story about “getting schooled” by Anthony.
The actual play can be found in the video (at the 1:15 mark). Anthony utilized an up-fake, jab step combination, getting Williamson off of his spot without ever taking an actual step. Williamson admitted it was a move he wanted to add to his “bag” of tricks.
Williamson elaborated on his admiration for Anthony, discussing how he loved watching him play, but wanted to see how the 10-time All-Star created space and using his body to create space in person, as opposed to seeing it on TV.
He also mentioned Damian Lillard, citing appreciation for how excellent an offensive player he can be when he catches fire and gets into a rhythm. In the full-length podcast, he talks about Lonzo Ball’s defense, and how Lillard simply makes tough shots.
For those interested, the full podcast can be viewed here.