The excitement for Zion Williamson’s rookie year in the NBA goes beyond just what he is capable of doing on the basketball court for an upstart New Orleans Pelicans squad. He’s already signed what is reportedly the most lucrative rookie sneaker contract in NBA history, putting pen to paper on a deal with Jordan Brand.
There’s also a whole lot of hype around what virtual Zion is going to do in NBA 2K20, because, well, athletes who are capable of doing video game-like things on the basketball court are usually really fun in actual video games. On Tuesday, Williamson’s rating in the game became public, and while he still has plenty of room for improvement, his rating caught him a touch off guard.
“I was shocked it was even in the 80s,” Williamson told Complex. “I thought they kinda had a thing with rookies where they would give them like a 79 and below. Seventy-nine at the highest. So I’ll be honest, when I saw 81, I was like, I can work with that.”
It is a touch higher than some recent rookies we’ve seen — Deandre Ayton and Luka Doncic were 79s in NBA 2K19, while Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball were 80s in the prior year’s game. And thanks to the NBA 2K Twitter account, we learned that Zion did, indeed, think he was going to be a point or two lower than he ended up being.
We’ll assuredly see the specifics of where 2K thinks Williamson will excel as a rookie closer to the official release of the game, but we can probably assume his rating as a dunker is going to be off the charts.