With the Duke Blue Devils eliminated from the 2019 NCAA Tournament at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans, it leaves a few big topics up for discussion. Although Duke and their star-studded freshman lineup fell short of the Final Four, there’s a good chance that Mike Krzyzewski will be looking at a new roster next year. And this stems largely from the future of top draft prospects Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett.
While Williamson is just 18 years old and wrapped up his freshman season with the Blue Devils, his status and outlook this offseason has never been much of a question. Zion is widely viewed as the expected No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, regardless of who winds up landing that selection.
With that said, we have to wait on the final word from the 6-foot-7 star before officially declaring him bound for the NBA. But on the outside looking in, it’s hard to envision any world where Williamson does not go to the NBA.
Zion Williamson’s Stats From Freshman Season
Throughout the entire 2018-19 season, Williamson showcased the ability and upside to do virtually everything. Through the first 32 games he played (prior to the Elite Eight matchup with the Spartans), he had posted averages of 22.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks per game. During the team’s tournament loss, he scored 24 points with 14 rebounds, three blocks, three steals and two assists while shooting 10-of-19 from the field.
Williamson missed five games during his freshman season due to a knee injury, and due to his high draft gradee, some analysts called for him to sit out the remainder of the year. The Duke star obviously chose not to do that, and he thrived throughout the year, including his play during the ACC and NCAA tournament after returning from injury.
Zion Williamson Expected NBA Draft Projection
If Williamson does not wind up as the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, it would be one of the biggest surprises in recent memory. While his teammate in Barrett will likely be a top-three pick and Murray State guard Ja Morant has star upside, Zion is on a level of his own, and it’s hard to even compare his game to another NBA player.
As things stand, there’s no way to envision the Duke star coming off the board anywhere other than in the top spot. It would likely take something drastic for that to change, but the teams set to land in the NBA draft lottery should be crossing their fingers over the chance to add Williamson this offseason.