There are a couple of schools of thought when talking about Ric Boucher saying Zion won’t live up to the hype and is not as NBA ready as Luka Doncic. Some of that is true and some of it isn’t and some of it is based on upside vs NBA readiness.
Certainly Doncic entering the NBA should’ve been more ready he’d played years of pro-ball throughout his life and came in as a professional already – and certainly Zion will be coming into the league the more traditional route of being a college player that has to transition into pro-ball is a completely different animal. So that part of his argument makes sense but to say Zion will be a bust is just ridiculous – when sports reporters try to become prognosticators is when they lose credibility because no one calls them out on when they are wrong and they are far too happy to tout when they get it right.
The difference between Zion and Luka is pretty simple. Experience vs Potential. Zion has something that Luka doesn’t have and that is upside. The fact that Zion dominated the college game with plenty of room left to grow is a very exciting prospect perhaps, for a young team, a much more attractive one. As their careers arc – say in 5 years as Zion, who has shown a great ability to both learn, understand and be coached, who will be better? It’s hard to say. People like Boucher said the same thing as Zion entered college – he dominated against lesser competition and that college basketball was a different animal. One thing, we know that translates from level to level is work ethic, desire and willingness to be coached. Zion has all of the above. Sometimes the media influencers and supposed journalists are the worst part of sports, what should amount to coverage and analysis has been replaced by hot-takes, feckless writing and loud mouth appeals to the lowest common denominator. Hype is generally a media creation, made to be able to tear a player down when that player doesn’t meet some arbitrary expectation. How about we, instead, let things play out and put a pin in all of the this player or that player is going be a bust and judge them on the totality of what they produce rather than some first or second year bust label. I’d be curious how they did in their careers after 1 or 2 years on the job.