Ranking all 25 Duke basketball players in the NBA this season

Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball legend Zion Williamson, now with the New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

1. 69. Zion Williamson. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Forward. Rookie

  • Games played this season: 10
  • Games started this season: 10
  • Minutes per game: 27.4
  • Points per game: 22.1
  • Rebounds per game: 7.5
  • Assists per game: 2.2
  • Blocks per game: 0.4
  • Steals per game: 0.7
  • FG percentage: 57.6
  • 3-point percentage: 36.4
  • FT percentage: 65.4

A bent rim. A block into what felt like the nosebleeds. A beyond-expectations show in his debut. A give-me-your-lunch-money encounter with Giannis Antetokounmpo. A truckload of various goal-shaking dunks and several phenomenal putbacks, not to mention a wide selection of underrated thread-the-needle passes from all areas of the court.

The list goes on, and the stats ever since coming off a minutes restriction are unprecedented for a 19-year-old — i.e., he’s been snatching new specific records for NBA teenagers nearly every outing. But this is no time for adding to the lists and recounting the records when the 10-minute mixtape of his first 10 games (below and well worth the watch for anyone who hasn’t) is so much better at explaining why there was no sane choice other than to put Zion Williamson at No. 1 on this list:

It doesn’t matter that the former five-star Duke basketball showman has played only 10 games. It doesn’t matter that the jury is still out as to whether the landing gear of the 6-foot-6, 285-pound flying freight train will hold up over time.

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No, what matters is what he has already proven:

  1. His brand of ball is the most stimulating of all to all the senses of the average fan.
  2. His combination of size, strength, skill, speed, vision, bounce, and rapid takeoffs is unprecedented on planet earth.
  3. He represents Duke basketball’s best chance — might be the only one it will ever get — of overtaking rival North Carolina in terms of boasting the GOAT as a former player.

All eyes on Zion, No. 1 in more ways than one.

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