3 Areas that Zion Williamson can improve in 2023-24

Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Zion Williamson Pelicans
Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

2. Passing

Thinking Basketball’s database is a wonderful tool with a bunch of great statistics that you won’t find anywhere else. One of their in-house stats, Box Creation, estimates how many open shots a player creates for their teammates per 100 possessions. Essentially, it measures a player’s playmaking prowess.

Based on that measure, it appears that Williamson creates 7.9 open shots for his teammates per 100 possessions (86th percentile). That’s an awesome number. But with his insane rim rates (100th percentile, per Dunks & Threes), you’d think that number would be even higher.

The reason his playmaking numbers aren’t as high as they could be is because of his current limitations as a passer. According to Thinking Basketball’s Passer Rating metric (an estimate of a player’s passing ability on an ‘approximately’ 1-10 scale), Williamson graded in just the 32nd percentile as a passer last season (Passer Rating of 3.2). That’s the lowest Passer Rating of any player that had a Box Creation of 7.5 or higher last year.

Passing is something that generally tends to improve with age. And unless time works differently this season than it has for all of human history (not ruling that possibility out), Williamson is another year older. That means he has a chance to improve as a passer and, thereby, enhance his status as a playmaker.