Zion Williamson or Ben Simmons? Which former #1 will bounce back?

Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Ben Simmons (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Ben Simmons (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson
Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers is defended by Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Zion Williamson will be rejoining the New Orleans Pelicans next season, hoping to turn a playoff team into a title contender.

Zion is one of many star players who missed most or all of last season, including Ben Simmons, who held out in Philly before being traded to the Nets and injuring his back.

Neither guy played at all last season and took plenty of criticism for it, whether it was Zion being blamed for being out of shape or Simmons being eviscerated by 76ers fans for refusing to play.

The two former #1 picks have plenty in common, as both have shown generational talent at times but have had careers hampered by injuries.

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Both players hope to come back big for their teams next season, so which guy is going to make the bigger impact? There are plenty of factors.

Zion Williamson or Ben Simmons?

The Talent

I think Simmons has actually become slightly underrated, some of which is his own doing, but people forget that this guy is really good.

When healthy, he’s one of the best defenders in the NBA, a guy who can guard all five positions. He’s a plus rebounder and playmaker who is a force in transition. But he can’t shoot, as we all know, which is a pretty big flaw in a league dominated by guys who can.

Simmons has never averaged even 17 points per game in a season, and pretty much flat-out refuses to shoot 3-point shots at all, which causes spacing issues considering he is often the primary playmaker on his team.

Zion Williamson is one of the most dominant offensive players I’ve ever seen, and while he is not as good as Simmons on defense (or even close), there is no doubt that he is the superior offensive player.

Zion has the chance to win a scoring title, and could be a fringe MVP candidate this season if he is healthy. Teams don’t have to game plan for Ben Simmons and even though he is the better defender, I think Zion is the clearly the better talent.