Zion Williamson is one of the league's finest entertainers. Despite his youth and not being around for most of the season, he instantly proved that he was an NBA-ready kind of talent that could dominate the league with ease.
However, the rookie everybody talked about all year long was Ja Morant, who turned the Memphis Grizzlies into a playoff team despite the major roster overhaul they went through. Morant was beating the odds and was a lock to win the Rookie of the Year award before the suspension of the season.
Morant averaged 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game and put together quite an impressive highlight reel during his rookie season, proving that he was also poised to become a superstar.
That's why friendly rivalry aside, Zion acknowledged that Morant deserves to win the award even though he has better numbers than him:
“Ja being a brother of mine, I’m happy for Ja. Ja has worked for it, he’s earned it. I give respect when it’s due. I always do. But you know, as a competitor — I’m just a competitor — I want to win at everything, I’m not going to sit here and say I don’t want to win, I want to win at everything. So, my goal was if I could rally my team into the playoffs hopefully I could make a run for [ROY]. It’s just God’s plan at this point," the Pelicans rookie told Kurt Helin of NBC.
Williamson posted averages of 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per game on 58.9% from the floor this season but was only able to make 19 appearances due to a knee injury, thus pretty much forfeiting any shot at the ROY.
Morant and Williamson hold a close friendship since their high school days. They were even teammates and their fates have always been tied. As a matter of fact, some even claim Morant was discovered while scouts were taking a glimpse at Zion.
So, after going 1-2 in this year's Draft, it seems like there's always going to be some back-and-forth between the two. One can only hope they both have long and successful careers and they fight with their hearts and souls to prove who's the best.