This year's NBA Draft consisted of a long list of young, talented players, many of which will become key parts of their organizations down the road. But a handful of the rookies will be leaned upon to provide for their team a whole lot sooner. These five rookies will be expected to be a part of their organization's starting lineups and play key roles from the first jump ball of the 2019-20 season.
1. Zion Williamson - New Orleans Pelicans
After being selected with the first overall pick in the draft and having been compared to LeBron by fans and analysts since his high school days, there is no way that Zion Williamson doesn't start for the Pelicans. They've lost their superstar Anthony Davis and have brought in a group talented young players, so Zion should easily step into a starting role. His NBA-ready body and skill set are expected to play a major role in the turnaround of the organization. He was drafted to be a franchise cornerstone for the Pelicans, and that's exactly how they'll utilize him.
2. R.J. Barrett - New York Knicks
R.J. Barrett was a celebration that Knicks fans have been wanting for a very long time. New York has been in need of a franchise player for ages, and the upcoming season seems like the perfect time for the debut of a potential perennial All-Star. As of now, without any free agency contracts being signed, Barrett will be expected to step into this role and lead a turnaround for the team. Even if the Knicks are able to acquire their most coveted free agents,Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who will act as franchise players, Barrett's talent and potential should keep him in New York's starting lineup.
3. Coby White - Chicago Bulls
The seventh pick of the draft fills Chicago's need for a true point guard and seems as if he will be the strongest option on the current roster. With the team not confident in Kris Dunn going forward, they may let White take the court from the get-go. His strong handles, court vision, and scoring ability will be an essential addition to the Bulls lineup who have been highly dependent on the scoring of Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen. White will come into the lineup with limited experience, but his time in the NBA Summer League should provide enough preparation for the White to take the starting point guard position on the rebuilding Bulls.
4. Ja Morant - Memphis Grizzlies
Ja Morant was drafted at No. 2 for multiple reasons. For one, he was the second best player in the draft. In a class that didn't feature a potential generational talent like Williamson, Morant would've been the first off the board. He showcased to NBA scouts throughout his lone college season that he was capable of making consistent NBA plays against high level players at the point guard position. With Mike Conley out of Memphis, the door is wide open for Morant to crack the starting lineup.
5. Cam Reddish - Atlanta Hawks
Cam Reddish was taken by Atlanta 10th overall but has shown spurts of potential and obvious pure talent that could make him one of the best players of this draft class. His long frame, athleticism, and outside shooting ability will come as huge add-ons to the Hawks now young core who will look to develop into a long-term contender. The Hawks will look to the rookie for consistent outside shooting as well as a strong defensive presence to which Reddish should be able to provide. If the Hawks want their young core to develop into a powerful team in the Eastern Conference, there's no question that the rookie will be in Atlanta's starting lineup and given every opportunity to flourish.