Zion Williamson’s fellow rookies do not expect him to have the best career of the players in his draft class.
Only 5% of respondents in the league’s annual rookie survey said Williamson would have the best career of the 2019 draftees. Reddish, meanwhile, received 19% of the vote for the question. Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (16%) and Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter (11%) also ranked higher than Williamson.
Three other players — Jaxson Hayes (Pelicans), RJ Barrett (Knicks) and Coby White (Bulls) — matched Williamson at 5%.
Reddish, who was selected No. 10 by the Hawks, and Williamson were teammates at Duke.
Williamson was the story of college basketball at Duke last season and averaged 22.6 points, along with 8.9 rebounds, while shooting 68% from the field. He was the consensus top prospect in the 2019 draft and the Pelicans chose him with the No. 1 pick.
“I see myself trying to step into a leadership role,” Williamson told reporters shortly after he was drafted. “When I think about doing that, I have to also understand my teammates and understand where their heads are at. If you’re not on the same page, things don’t usually go well.
“I think it’s a matter of us coming together, making the same goals and just willing to win, and I think we can do something special.”
The Pelicans’ roster underwent a major overhaul this summer. In addition to adding Williamson, they sent star Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and multiple first-round picks. New Orleans signed veterans Derrick Favors and JJ Redick, as well.
“Look at what the NBA has become, and the way teams are built,” Pelicans vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said last month. “You can’t dream big enough in this league. I think I want everyone’s approach to this to be, ‘Why not us?’”
Williamson is favored to win the Rookie of the Year among members of his draft class, as 35% of respondents in the survey predicted he’d take home the award.