Zion Williamson Declares for NBA Draft, Poised to Be No. 1 Pick

Williamson has the best odds of landing with New York, Cleveland or Phoenix

Ex-Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ex-Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson. (Photo by Jaylynn Nash/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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A loss to Michigan State in the Elite Eight prevented it from being a won-and-done year for Zion Williamson in the NCAA tournament, but the 18-year-old is taking his talents to the NBA anyway.

The John Wooden Award winner announced on Instagram he will be leaving Duke after playing a single year as a Blue Devil and make himself eligible for the NBA draft.

“Thank you for making this year the best year of my life,” Williamson said in the post. “I don’t think I can put it into words how special this year was.”

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🔵Thank you Duke🔵#thebrotherhood

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Though the season was somewhat of a disappointment for top-ranked Duke, the year was a success for Williamson personally as he was the face of the NCAA during his freshman year while averaging 22.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.8 blocks.

In addition to becoming just the third freshman to win the John Wooden Award as the national men’s player of the year (Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis are the others), Williamson also took home the Naismith Award, AP player of the year, ACC player of the year and rookie of the year honors.

We don’t yet know which team will have the first pick in the draft — the lottery will be held May 14 — but whichever franchise lucks into it will almost surely draft the six-foot-seven 284-pounder.

The NBA teams with a shot at landing Williamson and their odds to do so are as follows:

New York (14.0 percent), Cleveland (14.0 percent), Phoenix (14.0 percent), Chicago (12.5 percent), Atlanta (10.5 percent), Washington (9.0 percent), New Orleans (6.0 percent), Memphis (6.0 percent), Dallas (6.0 percent), Minnesota (3.0 percent), Los Angeles Lakers (2.0 percent), Charlotte (1.0 percent), Miami (1.0 percent) and Sacramento (to Boston or to Philadelphia, 1.0 percent).

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