NBA rookies overwhelmingly believe Cam Reddish will be better than Zion Williamson

While Zion Williamson is the most intriguing NBA prospect in years, there are worries that his massive 6-7, 285-pound frame isn’t built for long-term basketball success.

And it’s not just media critics trumpeting those concerns. His fellow rookies don’t believe he’ll live up to his lofty status as the No. 1 pick by the New Orleans Pelicans.

NBA rookies like Zion’s Duke teammate better

The NBA released its annual rookie survey polling players about each other’s prospects on Monday, and there’s not much confidence in Williamson in the long run.

Instead, NBA rookies believe one of Williamson’s teammates at Duke will end up having the best career. And no — the answer isn’t R.J. Barrett.

A whopping 19 percent of rookies polled believe that Cam Reddish will end up being the best player from the draft class of 2019.

Is Reddish better than his season at Duke suggests?

Reddish, a wing player who shot 35.6 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the college 3-point line during his only season at Duke, was widely considered the third-best prospect coming out of the Blue Devils’ loaded class. The Atlanta Hawks selected him with the 10th overall pick in June’s draft.

Some argue that Reddish was restricted by a Duke system that wasn’t a good fit and believe he can thrive in the NBA. His fellow rookies have apparently bought into that narrative.

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Zion Williamson since being drafted by the Pelicans
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Zion Williamson since being drafted by the Pelicans
Duke's Zion Williamson greets fans as he is introduced during the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Zion Williamson, derecha, proveniente de la Universidad Duke, posa con el comisionado de la NBA Adam Silver tras ser elegido por los Pelicans de Nueva Orleáns en la primera ronda del draft de la liga, el jueves 20 de junio de 2019, en Nueva York. (AP Foto/Julio Cortez)
New Orleans Pelicans first-round NBA draft pick Zion Williamson smiles at his introductory news conference at the team's practice facility in Metairie, La., Friday, June 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Pelicans first-round draft pick Zion Williamson, second from right, poses with, left to right, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin, coach Alvin Gentry, and team owner Gayle Benson, at his introductory news conference at the NBA basketball team's practice facility in Metairie, La., Friday, June 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson runs upcourt during the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the New York Knicks on Friday, July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson smiles while sitting on the bench during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday, July 6, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
New Orleans Pelicans' Zion Williamson (1) looks to pass the ball during the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the New York Knicks on Friday, July 5, 2019, in Las Vegas. Knicks' Allonzo Trier is at right. (AP Photo/Steve Marcus)
Zion Williamson, of the Duke University men's basketball team, accepts the award for best college athlete at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 10, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, left with back facing camera, greets NBA basketball New Orleans Pelicans draft picks Zion Williamson, left, Jaxson Hayes, center, and head coach Alvin Gentry during training camp at their NFL football training facility in Metairie, La., Friday, July 26, 2019. With them are Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, center with back to camera, and former Saints head coach Jim Mora, right. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
NBA player Zion Williamson, of the New Orleans Pelicans, arrives at the Kids' Choice Sports Awards on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JULY 14: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans warms up on the court before a semifinal game of the 2019 NBA Summer League against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Thomas & Mack Center on July 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Others ranked as good as, better than Zion

But Reddish isn’t the only player rated ahead of Williamson in the rookie survey in terms of long-term prospects. Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and Reddish’s fellow Hawks rookie De’Andre Hunter also ranked considerably higher than Williamson.

Williamson finished in a four-way tie for fourth in the survey with five percent of the vote. Here’s how the voting broke down, per NBA.com:

Which rookie will have the best career?

1. Cam Reddish, Hawks — 19 percent

2. Ja Morant, Grizzlies — 16 percent

3. De'Andre Hunter, Hawks — 11 percent

4. R.J. Barrett, Knicks — 5 percent
Jaxson Hayes, Pelicans — 5 percent
Coby White, Bulls — 5 percent
Zion Williamson, Pelicans — 5 percent

Rookies like Williamson for now

The short term is a different story. Williamson’s fellow rookies see Rookie of the Year honors as a two-man race between Williamson and Morant, with Williamson coming out on top.

From the survey:

Who will win Rookie of the Year?

1. Zion Williamson, New Orleans — 35 percent

2. Ja Morant, Memphis — 27 percent

3. R.J. Barrett, New York — 5 percent
Cam Reddish, Atlanta — 5 percent

In addition to the bizarre confidence in Reddish, these poll results point clearly to a widely held belief about Williamson. His weight is going to be a problem.

While he’s 19 years old and in his physical prime, his size is an asset as long as he retains his tremendous athleticism. He’s a favorite for Rookie of the Year.

But what works at 19 doesn’t necessarily work at 25 or 30 years old. And Williamson’s fellow rookies appear to agree with Charles Barkley that 285 pounds isn’t going to cut it for Williamson in the long run.

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