During the first 19 games of his career, Zion Williamson has put up numbers that have him in the company of legends Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan. His strong performance — averaging 23.6 points per game on 58.9% shooting — has led many to wonder if Williamson, even in an abbreviated season, could unseat Ja Morant to win this year’s Rookie of the Year award. In a straw poll conducted over the past few days by ESPN of 70 eligible voters, a clear consensus has emerged: no.

Ja Morant heavily favored to win Rookie of the Year

ESPN polled a mixture of local beat writers from across the league as well as national and international reporters. And to simulate the voting process, we used the same point system as the NBA at the conclusion of the regular season — every first-place vote is worth five points, with second-place votes worth three points and third-place votes worth one point. Behind Morant and his perfect 350 points came Williamson, with 51 of the 70 second-place votes along with 11 third-place selections for a total of 164 points.
Ja is a Southern kid, born in Georgia, raised in South Carolina, college in Kentucky. And now he’s brought the show to Tennessee. It almost feels like some sort of bigger design is at work. “I feel like God has a plan for everybody,” says Ja. “You can’t put a time on it. It’s his timing. I feel like everything that’s been happening to me and the positions that I’ve been put in is because of my hard work and what God blessed me with, the talents He blessed me with, and just him. So, I’m thankful for everything and I’m just going to keep pushing.”
2 weeks ago via SLAM