Marc Spears picks Zion Williamson to be the next scoring champion.
HOT TAKE

Marc Spears picks Zion Williamson to be the next scoring champion.

Last season’s duel for the 2021 NBA scoring title between The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and The Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal is what basketball dreams are made of, and possibly some of the best scoring displays we have seen since Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant were jousting for scoring titles in the early 2000s. If Kobe and TMac used a combination of size and agility to make defenders feel helpless, Beal and Curry torched defenses with some of the best shooting and handles in the league’s history.

As we prepare for the upcoming season, predictions for some of the storylines and awards in front and center of league news are starting to surface. The most recent ones to surface are the predictions for the next NBA Scoring Champion.

According to recently released PDFs by sports betting outfits, Beal is expected to avenge his loss to Curry last year and be crowned the 2022 scoring champion. This is very much possible, as the reigning champion will now be sharing the back-court with fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson. On the other hand, Beal will now be supported by Spencer Dinwiddie instead of the ball-dominant Russel Westbrook. With these two variables coming into play, Beal’s chances are looking good, even if he probably isn’t focused on the imaginary award.

The Wizards are a lot deeper this year, and the hope is that they won’t need Beal to score as much.

Brian Windhorst via The Jump

Windy has a point, Washington did not only replace Westbrook with Dinwiddie at the point, but by trading Russ, they acquired some talented offensive players on Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrel. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can also shoot it from deep and is streaky, and perhaps this leads to fewer touches for Beal and a less predictable Wizards offense. Windy then made an obvious pick in Clippers guard Paul George, who will be playing as the primary scorer for the team while Kawhi Leonard sits out for the season with a knee injury.

Host Jorge Sedano then picked Steph Curry to go back-to-back, which bettors aren’t counting on due to the return of Klay Thompson, with Curry only projected to have the third-best odds to lead the league in scoring next season. As per betting odds, Luka Doncic has the second-best odds after Beal, which makes sense given Luka’s compounded growth in each of his seasons in the NBA. However, panel member Marc Spears gave a rather hot take on who he thought would take the crown.

I’m going with Zion down in the Big East. I think he’s going to take his game to the next level. He gets to the line and I think he’s going to start making more threes.

Marc Spears via The Jump

How about that for a hot take? Zion finished 8th in last year’s scoring race with an average of 27 points per game on 60% shooting; if we go by the numbers, taking five more shots in a game will take Zion’s average up to 33 points per game, which would be higher than the league-best numbers or Curry last year. The Pelicans did lose Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls, which should impact Zion’s efficiency, but much of Zion’s growth will depend on how the new coaching staff builds around him. Zion also shoots about 29% from three, that’s lower than Russell Westbrook, a player who is often maligned for his inability to shoot the basketball consistently. So to say that Zion will start to make more threes is quite the assumption to make, but if he does improve his three-point shot, then maybe he has a shot of scoring with the big boys.