Re-drafting the 2019 NBA Draft: Matisse Thybulle rises, Sixers grab scorer

Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, NBA Draft Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, NBA Draft Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The 2019 NBA Draft featured a future MVP candidate and one of the most talented top-10s in recent memory. At least, that’s how it was billed at the time. Since then, much has changed — including who makes up that talented top-10.

We’ve already re-drafted the 2020 NBA Draft, which saw Tyrese Maxey crack the lottery, forcing the Sixers to consider a different scoring guard at 21. In this 2019 re-draft, we will see if Matisse Thybulle finds a new home, or if he falls into Philadelphia’s lap with the 20th overall pick.

To get the ball rolling, the New Orleans Pelicans re-select…

player. 69. . F. New Orleans Pelicans. Zion Williamson. 1

Re-drafting the 2019 NBA Draft — 1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

In his second NBA season, Zion Williamson averaged 27.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 3.7 assists. He shot 61.1 percent from the field, and by the All-Star break, was essentially running point on most Pelicans possessions. He is already a top-20 NBA player, and a leap or two from perennial MVP contention. There’s no argument against him going No. 1 again.

The Pelicans will need to do a better job of building around Williamson, but he has the potential to anchor that franchise for a decade-plus if he sticks around (big if, but it’s way to early to speculate). Williamson doesn’t space the floor, but it makes little difference. He’s too quick and strong for just about everyone. Once he puts his shoulder into a defender’s chest, it doesn’t really matter how far they’ve sagged off.

Defense is Williamson’s biggest shortcoming. The elite potential he flashed at Duke hasn’t really manifested in the NBA. He’s generally unaware and doesn’t play with the effort necessary to make full use of his supreme athletic gifts. If he can figure out that side of the ball, then he immediately joins the upper echelon of NBA stardom.