Ranking Zion Williamson Against all Rookies and Sophomores

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 04: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans: (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - FEBRUARY 04: Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans: (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans,
New Orleans Pelicans, /

The International Five

The NBA has more international talent than it has ever had, including two players from the New Orleans Pelicans who represented the team in the Rising Stars Challenge. All of these players have been strong and unexpected contributors for their teams this season.

New Orleans Pelicans. Nicolo Melli. 69. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Power Forward . 25. player

Nicolo Melli is the oldest player on this list. The 29-year-old rookie has gone ice-cold for the New Orleans Pelicans of late but prior to this streak he was one of their most important bench players.

Melli gets a ton of open looks now that Zion Williamson is garnering so much attention, and for most of the season he has knocked them down, hitting 36.1 percent for the year. Melli needs to find his stroke, but the Italian has proven he can be a strong contributor off the bench for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Scouting Report. Detroit Pistons. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk. 24. 64. Pick Analysis. Shooting Guard . player

In addition to having the NBA’s hardest name to spell, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk has been a pleasant surprise in an otherwise miserable season for the Detroit Pistons.

Mykhailiuk does only one thing really well and that is shoot the 3-pointer, which he does at a 40.6 percent clip. Mykhailiuk still doesn’t defend his position that well, but he has good size, a quick release and one of the purest strokes in the league.

The Pistons like what they have in the Ukrainian, who was part of a trade for Reggie Bullock last season. It’s rapidly looking as if the Pistons may have gotten a steal and a young player who can be part of their core moving forward.

Scouting Report. New Orleans Pelicans. 69. Pick Analysis. Shooting Guard. Nickeil Alexander-Walker. 23. player

The fact that Nickeil Alexander-Walker hasn’t been able to get on the court is a testament to the depth of young talent on the New Orleans Pelicans.

Alexander-Walker’s season has not gone to plan, as he has been sent to the G-League and recently suffered an injury, but the New Orleans Pelicans are still high on the 21-year-old Canadian.

He started the season red-hot and it looked as though he was poised to make a solid contribution to the New Orleans Pelicans, but the combination of poor shooting and up-and-coming talents like Josh Hart and Frank Jackson relegated Alexander-Walker to mop-up duty before he was sent to the G-League.

With so much young talent to build around, the New Orleans Pelicans can afford to have patience with Alexander-Walker or look to trade him as part of a package in the offseason.

22. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. Shooting Guard. Josh Okogie. Minnesota Timberwolves. player. 86

Josh Okogie adds some Nigerian flavor to the mix and has improved in nearly every category for the Timberwolves in his second season.

Okogie’s numbers won’t jump out at you. He is averaging just 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, but he has solidified Minnesota’s bench and is able to guard multiple positions on the perimeter.

player. 142. Pick Analysis. Center. Washington Wizards. Moritz Wagner. 21. Scouting Report

Moritz Wagner has only played 36 games so far in his sophomore season, but he has flashed enough to make the Wizards excited, which is tough because Washington has very little to be excited about these days.

The 6-foot-11 German is 9.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in just over 19 minutes a game. He’s not a great rim protector but he is an above average passer and has improved his 3-point shooting to 34.3 percent, which is not bad for a near seven-footer.