NBA teams have long practiced the unspoken tradition of being liberal with detailing how tall their players are, whether they are listed shorter or taller than their actual height.
But thanks to a new league policy reported by The New York Times last week, we’re going to learn players’ real heights. That begins, apparently, with the fact that New Orleans Pelicans forward and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson is an inch shorter than he was listed at Duke.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Williamson was officially measured at 6-foot-6, an inch off from the 6-foot-7 that he was listed at during his one season at Duke and during Pelicans training camp.
Zion has looked 6’6, 6’9 and 7’0 this offseason I gotta see dude in person to see the truth— One Man Boy Band (@Ross_Flowers_) September 30, 2019
Is this a Zion-gate? Probably not.
League-mandated height measurement
The NBA’s new policy requires that players’ height be measured without shoes, which means we could see drops of around an inch for many players.
The respective discrepancies will be interesting to note. Some players want to be listed as taller than their actual height for obvious reasons — they want to avoid being seen as too small in a sport where it is advantageous to be tall. Others — primarily big men — who are actually over 7-feet want to be listed as under that mark to escape from the stereotype that comes with being a 7-foot center.
In Zion’s case, it doesn’t matter whether he is 6-foot-6 or 6-foot-7: the man is freak of nature regardless. He has the build and athleticism to fly around the court, dominate in the paint and leap out of the gym.
Plus, wouldn’t it be more impressive that someone who is 6-foot-6 can do this?
For Zion, it’s the weight
The bigger concern for Williamson is his weight (those listings are not part of the league’s new policy because of how they can fluctuate). Williamson is listed by the Pelicans as 285 pounds, which would be second-highest in the league behind Boban Marjanovic, according to the league’s figures from last year.
It might not matter right now for the 19-year-old phenom, but as age and wear-and-tear catch up to Williamson, he will need to stay in shape and avoid gaining 100 pounds in two years again.
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