Original Pick: Zion Williamson, Duke
Choosing the player to go first in this redraft was a legitimately difficult task, as three different players can make strong cases. That’s highly unusual for most drafts, as the top player tends to have distinguished themselves by this point.
In one sense that has happened, as Zion Williamson has reached the highest heights of any player from this draft, and has the best chance of becoming an all-time player. Yet he has also played just 114 games total in four seasons, less than half that of most of the players in this class. It’s hard to bet the first overall pick on such an injury risk.
Many teams may still choose Zion here, but Darius Garland is the pick in our redraft. There are no issues with his availability or character, on-or-off the court. He is a sharpshooter and high-level passer, and even improved as a defender this past season.
The Pelicans would be able to build a team similar to the one they have had to play with in Zion’s absences, but with Garland they wouldn’t have had to trade for CJ McCollum. A core of Darius Garland, Herb Jones and Brandon Ingram would be a great start with a lot of lineup versatility (as we will see later in our redraft).