Zion Williamson is the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft — that is a fairly undisputed statement.
But not to one Jamal Murray, who thinks another player is the better choice. The Denver Nuggets’ guard told Marc Spears of The Undefeated in a profile on RJ Barrett that yes, he would take Barrett over Williamson.
"Zion has definitely overshadowed RJ because of the hype," Murray said. "But I think RJ is more of a complete player in terms of what you are looking for. Zion is going to sell tickets. But if it was up to me, I would still take RJ."
Does Murray have a point? Both Williamson and Barrett averaged 22.6 points per game last season at Duke.
But that’s where the comparisons end. Barrett is an excellent prospect — no doubt about that. He should be selected in the top five and be handsomely paid for his services.
He is no Williamson, who is objectively a freak of nature, doing things on offense and defense that we had never seen in the college game. Every game seemed to feature a thunderous dunk or an insane block that went viral.
Zion’s 360 dunk had Cameron Indoor Stadium LIVE 🔥
(via alee923/IG) pic.twitter.com/omm4FgpUsc
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 6, 2019
Sure, basketball isn’t just about the highlights. But Williamson’s pure athletic gift is something that comes along once in a generation.
So Murray might be exaggerating just a bit. It might have to do with the fact that he is Canadian, like Barrett.
Barrett, for his part, agreed with what Murray said, telling Spears: "For sure. I worked my butt off, so definitely."
Barrett is right to have confidence in himself. But the island of folks who think he should be drafted ahead of Williamson is very, very small.
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