6. Zion Williamson – Most Valuable Player (MVP)/All-NBA Team
It’s hard to remember because it happened pre-pandemic (and anything before that feels like a lifetime ago), but Williamson was once thought to be the second coming of The Chosen One. In 2019, he was seen by all draft experts as a generational talent and the clear number-one overall pick.
Fast forward four years later, and while Williamson has flashed the tantalizing athleticism and skill that made him such a sought-after prospect, we have yet to see him get a full healthy season under his belt.
But, when he has been available in the past, he’s showcased every ounce of that superstar potential. Plus, he’s made it a point this offseason to take his health/fitness more seriously than ever before.
Williamson being healthy all season alone should be enough for him to earn an All-NBA spot. Last year, he was selected as an All-Star starter, and although those players are often voted in by fans, most of them do end up on All-NBA teams (if they stay healthy and continue similar production through the entire year).
But what if Williamson stays healthy and takes another step as a player? He’s only 23, so significant improvement is far from impossible. The last time we saw him, he already looked like a top-15 player. What does an upgraded version of that look like? Is it enough to be a dark horse MVP candidate? It surely could be, especially if he pushes the Pelicans to a top seed in the West.
The sky’s the limit for Williamson, and the only thing holding him back from awards is his body (and the league’s new resting policies).