New York Knicks: RJ Barrett’s top five challengers for NBA Rookie of the Year

(Photo by Ryan McGilloway/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ryan McGilloway/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images) /

1. Zion Williamson

Shocking, right? Not really.

The player New York Knicks fans once desperately wanted, Zion Williamson is the runaway favorite to win the 2019 NBA Rookie of the Year. He is the face of the New Orleans Pelicans, who traded Anthony Davis, without yet stepping onto the court for a regular season game, and the expectations are unlimited.

Anything less than superstar might disappoint fans, and there is a good chance the 19-year-old Williamson, like any other player, needs time to develop. In a smaller market, he will have that chance, but the spotlight will still shine on him.

No. 1 picks are not always guaranteed the Rookie of the Year award, no matter how much hype their receive, so do not write Williamson’s name in pen just yet, given what happened in these years:

Granted, six players to land first overall have won the rookie award in this span, but it is never a guarantee for this to happen every year. LeBron James and Anthony Davis did not win in their respective first seasons.

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However, it will take a monumental leap from someone to push Williamson aside. It could be Barrett, Morant, Reddish, Garland, Clarke or someone off the grid, but the odds are in this dunk-happy forward’s favor in 2019-20, and that conversation will take off once tip-off happens in October.