The three players NBA rookies picked to be better than Zion Williamson


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Zion Williamson was the no-brainer top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and while there’s no question that Zion has the most star power of any prospect in the class of 2019, several NBA legends and analysts have questioned whether Williamson has the skillset to flourish in the NBA. Shaquille O’Neal is on record as saying he’d rather build a team around Bol Bol than Williamson, while Charles Barkley says defensive matchups will be difficult for Williamson, who isn’t a prototypical power forward or small forward.

In the annual NBA rookie survey, the Class of 2019 was asked to select the player who will go on to have the best NBA career. For the sixth year in a row, a Duke player topped the poll – but it wasn’t Williamson. In fact, a quarter of players polled picked Williamson’s two Duke teammates to be better players.

Former Duke star Cam Reddish, the No. 10 overall pick by Atlanta, led all players with 19 percent of the vote. Memphis’ Ja Morant came in second with 16 percent of the vote, followed by Atlanta’s De’Andre Hunter with 11 percent.

Williamson finished in a four-way tie for fourth with 5 percent of the vote, along with R.J. Barrett, Jaxson Hayes, and Coby White.

NBA rookies do expect Williamson to have a strong start to his career, at least. Williamson received 35 percent of the vote to win the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year award, leading Morant (27%) and his former Duke teammates Barrett (5%) and Reddish (5%).

Reddish at No. 1 will come as a surprise to many, but the 6-foot-8 sharpshooter landed in an excellent position in Atlanta. Reddish didn’t arrive to the Hawks to be the face of the franchise, and instead can focus on excelling in his role as dangerous scoring option on a young team loaded with talent.

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