Finding the gem of 2019 NBA draft class: Six impact players overshadowed by Zion Williamson


SportsPulse: In stunning fashion, the Pelicans land the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft and likely Zion Williamson. USA TODAY Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt breaks down how the new lottery system devalued tanking for at least one year

Even though much of the NBA draft hype has centered on likely No. 1 pick Zion Williamson with the rest of the spotlight left for RJ Barrett and Ja Morant, it’s worth examining the less obvious. 

Who are the hidden gems?

Nobody expected players like Giannis Antetokounmpo (No. 15 in 2013 by the Bucks) or Damian Lillard (No. 6 in 2012 by the Trail Blazers) to become MVP candidates when they were drafted, and there’s a decent chance someone will emerge from the June 20 draft.

Here are six potential impact players:

DeAndre Hunter, Virginia. The 6-7 forward with a 7-2 wingspan has an NBA body and versatile inside-out game poised to translate to the next level — on both ends. He led the national champion Cavaliers in scoring and demonstrated massive potential in the title game with 27 points, including a pivotal three that sent it to overtime. At the No. 4 spot, the Lakers would be smart to select possible Kawhi Leonard 2.0. 


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