The Murray State star almost tops this list. Morant will probably win the Rookie of the Year Award so it’s all good. The 20-year-old has been a revelation for the Grizzlies who rely on him just as much as the Pelicans rely on Zion Williamson. He also plays in one of the toughest positions on the court, making his consistency all the more impressive.
The Grizzlies are under pressure from the Pelicans this season for that number eight seeding, but Morant will be central to their hopes of winning in Orlando. But Morant has also been one of the best crunch-time players in the NBA, averaging 3.3 points in clutch situations. In short, he makes a massive difference and will be one of the top young stars in the NBA for several years to come.
Could anybody else top this list? The hype behind Williamson was incredible before he even made his NBA debut. But since then he’s been excellent and could even force the Pelicans into the playoffs. Since January, the Pelicans went 10-7 in games in which Williamson played 25 or more minutes.
They also have an unbelievable plus-13.9 net rating with him on the court. It’s no surprise that many are picking the Pelicans to beat the Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the West because Williamson makes such a large difference. Not every number one draft pick lives up to his billing, but he is so far. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Williamson could legitimately take the torch from Lebron James as the biggest star in all of basketball for years to come.