All five players that were named first team All Americans declared for the upcoming NBA draft and it is expected that at least four of them will be lottery picks.
First Team All Americans
The five players that were selected to the first team were: Zion Williamson, R.J Barrett, Rui Hachimura, Ja Morant and Grant Williams. Other than Grant Williams, everyone in this group is projected to be a lottery pick. We already know what most of them can do at the college level but how will they handle the NBA? In the case of Grant Williams, that uncertainty could see him elect to return to Tennessee where he just finished the season as the SEC Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. He will have until May 29th to make his final decision. As for the other four first team all americans, they were pre-season favorites to be lottery picks and the only thing that has changed is the order they will be selected.
The Duke Boys Will Be Selected in the Top Three
When the season started, R.J Barrett was ranked ahead of Zion Williamson in most mock drafts. After their freshman season at Duke, it’s clear that was incorrect. In the end Williamson won every major award that college basketball has to offer and deservingly so. He was an absolute force of nature and was virtually unstoppable when healthy. His combination of size, speed and athletic ability has never been seen before in college basketball. Of all the things that can be said about Zion, his humility might be his best characteristic. He genuinely seems to have no ego which is incredible for an 18 year that gets attention 24/7 not only in college basketball but across the entire North American sports landscape. A young player’s character can’t be underestimated because there will be growing pains when you enter the NBA as a teenager and how they handle adversity plays a huge part in terms of overall development.
Speaking of underestimated, in a recent poll, R.J Barrett was voted the most overrated player in college basketball. The votes were submitted by other college players and what was most interesting is that he also received votes as college basketball’s best player in that same poll. What that tells you is that he is very polarizing and that’s what makes the draft lottery so interesting. Depending on who picks when, he could go as high as number two or he could go as low as five. What can’t be denied is that he is an elite prospect who not only adjusted to college basketball easily, he was one of the best players in the country as expected. Another thing is that he might be more NBA ready than Zion to start their careers considering nobody knows what position Zion will play. Whoever drafts R.J will most likely start him at the small forward position from day one and he will make an immediate impact. Of course if we’re talking upside, Zion is on a whole other level.
Ja Morant and Rui Hachimura
The second most talked about player in college basketball this year was probably Ja Morant even though most fans never saw him play until the tournament. He justified the attention with the first triple double March Madness had seen since Draymond Green with Michigan St. Of all the players entering the draft he probably did the most to move up the boards with most people expecting him to be taken even before R.J Barrett. As for Rui Hachimura, he might have actually fell a few spots but he is still expected to be a lottery pick.