We have a decent idea of where Duke would be without Zion Williamson. The star freshman hurt his knee in a freak shoe explosion last month, and the Blue Devils only managed to go 3-3 in his absence. He made his much-anticipated return during the ACC Tournament this week, and his performances have been the stuff of monster movies. He scored 29 points without missing a single field goal against Syracuse on Thursday. On Friday, he capped a 31-point, 11-rebound night against North Carolina with a game-winning put-back that sent Duke to the ACC Championship Game.
Two of Duke’s Zion-less losses came against UNC, so Friday’s result was especially sweet for the Blue Devils. Duke feeds off Williamson’s high-octane playing style, and this second-half dunk will be powering Durham’s electric grid for weeks.
A reporter at the postgame press conference asked R.J. Barrett to rate his teammate’s slam. Barrett gave it a perfect 10, but head coach Mike Krzyzewski tsk-tsk’ed the question. “Let’s not talk about rating dunks,” he said.
Krzyzewski probably rooted for John Lithgow during Footloose.
Dismissing a nasty dunk as just “two points” is a classic curmudgeon move. It’s also a rather silly point to make after your team won by, uh, 1 point.*
If there’s anything to be upset about, it’s Barrett’s lax grading scale. You can’t throw around perfect 10s like that. Williamson is capable of so much more, and it’s only sensible to leave some room for him to score higher.
Duke plays Florida State in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game, and it’s all thanks to Zion Williamson. Just don’t rate his dunks.
Correction, March 16, 2019: This post originally misstated Duke’s margin of victory over UNC. It was 1 point, not 2.