High Hopes For Pelicans’ Future With Zion Williamson & Other Picks For NBA Draft
A score of reporters and analysts have little to no doubt that he will be the first name NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will be saying, and with good reason. Experts have been trying to find a comparison to the Duke power forward for some time, but to be fair, it’s tough to compare anyone to a player like this. The potential is limitless for Williamson. He has the size, the athleticism and the knack of getting himself to the rim whenever he wants. Williamson critics could say his range from deep is limited, but at Duke last season, he shot just under 34% from behind the arc, which is better than his Blue Devil teammates and certain lottery picks R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish.
The next two picks looked to be cemented as well. For instance, both CBS Sports analysts Gary Parrish and Kyle Boone have Murray State guard Ja Morant going to the Memphis Grizzlies for the second pick, and Barrett going to the New York Knicks for the third pick. According to CBS Sports, Lakers legend Jerry West has reportedly said that he thinks Morant is the best talent in the draft, despite breakout star Williamson and his incredible potential. Experts have compared Morant to the triple-double monster and former MVP Russell Westbrook of the Thunder. Barrett averaged 22.6 points a game, tied with his Blue Devil teammate Williamson, and scored more points than any other ACC freshman this season.
For the other 27 first-round picks, however, other players have a certain range of where analysts think that they will be picked. The Los Angeles Lakers have the fourth overall pick, with several building options to help superstar LeBron James win a championship in L.A. The Lakers could take forward DeAndre Hunter from Virginia, who won the March Madness tournament this year. The Lakers could also go smaller and pick Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland. Garland played just five games for the Commodores last year, after a season-ending injury, but he displayed signs of immense potential.
The Lakers could also be in pursuit of trading their pick for the likes of Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis, and potentially break up the Davis-Williamson duo that New Orleans is so excited about. James and the Lakers were pursuing Davis heavily last season, until the Pelicans turned it down. If not Davis, the Lakers could also potentially pursue Kawhi Leonard from Toronto, who is currently playing in the NBA Finals.
Texas Tech breakout star Jarret Culver climbed the boards after the NBA Combine, and could be a potential candidate for the fifth-pick Cleveland Cavaliers, after their signing of the former Michigan head coach, John Beilein. Reddish could fall as low as the eighth pick, to the Atlanta Hawks, to pair with Rookie of the Year candidate Trae Young. The Hawks also picked up the 10th pick from Dallas, where they could get the likes of the Texas power forward, Jaxson Hayes or North Carolina freshman Nassir Little.