The NBA Draft is unlike any entity we have in football - well at least on this side of the Atlantic, the NFL obviously has exactly the same thing.
The way it works is as follows" The worst 13 teams in the league from the previous season line up in hopes of attaining the number one pick in the forthcoming draft by way of a lottery, where the three-worst teams have a 14% chance of winning and numbers five to 13 have a chance ranging between 10.5 and 1% in descending order.
The team with the first pick has their choice of every eligible college player who is declaring to play professional basketball in the NBA - so the best typically goes first (though there are often draft busts, as history has shown). The next team has their pick of the remaining players, and so on and so forth.
Yeh, thats all well and good, but whats it got to do with football? Well, its a fun concept, isnt it? So, after the "success" of incorporating the NBAs Trade format in football, heres the top five consensus draft picks (well, as good as) and their footballing equivalents.
5. Jarrett Culver - Frenkie de Jong
Jarrett Culver was the versatile, all-rounder who led a quasi-ragtag group of youngsters at Texas Tech to the precipice of ultimate glory before ultimately succumbing at the final hurdle. Sound familiar?
Culver is known for his ability to fulfil a myriad of roles. He is excellent off the ball, both in attack and defence, beating out opponents with brain rather than brawn. He is, in every fashion, Frenkie de Jong.
The difference is, the Dutchman is heading to Barcelona this summer, while, as the likely fifth pick, Culver is potentially Cleveland-bound - a destination that, in sporting and sightseeing terms, is about as far as you can get from Barca. Shame.
4. DeAndre Hunter - Matthijs de Ligt
What does DeAndre Hunter bring? Defensive fortitude, with a versatility that allows him to stop most players around, and a three-point game that makes him useful in attack. Yeh, thats Matthijs de Ligt alright. Its worth pointing out as well that, as a Virginia graduate, Hunter was part of the team that stopped Culvers plucky Texans from winning the NCAA Championship this year.
To be fair to De Ligt, though, he is not just a versatile defender who can hold his own with the ball up front. He is a generational defender, singlehandedly beckoning in a new era of rearguard play. And hes 19. Also, while its feasible for Hunter to never add to his current trophy cabinet, the same cannot be said for De Ligt. Hes trophy-bound wherever he goes, baybee.
3. R.J. Barrett - Moise Kean
As a Duke graduate, R.J. Barrett is used to winning. As a Juventus player, Moise Kean is even more so. But the similarities dont stop there. Barrett is a confidence-imbued scorer, averaging 22.6 points per game (ppg) across the season (the exact same total as a certain teammate of his), and providing a secondary attacking thrust in a talent-laden side... JUST LIKE KEAN.
The Italian international has enjoyed a breakout year - so much so that some have called him Italian footballs Immaculate Conception of a Generational Talent - scoring seven goals in 15 appearances. Hes still somewhat raw, but by god is he exciting. A bit like Barrett.
2. Ja Morant - Jadon Sancho
The preeminent playmaker of his time. That sentence could be used to describe either one of these exceptionally gifted players. True, Ja Morant has been playing with Murray State who, with the greatest respect, are not Borussia Dortmund. Theyre not even Nurnberg. But thats besides the point, for in his longer-than-expected stint in the NCAA tournament, Morant showed all the flair and athleticism needed to know hes built for bigger and better things.
Which is exactly what Sancho has done since leaving Manchester City for the BVB. No teenager has managed more assists (15) or goal contributions (a combined 27 goals and assists) than the Englishman this season.
The same goes for Morant and his immediate competitors, with his figures of 24.5 points and 10 assists per-game unmatched by anyone in the expected top 30 of the draft.
1. Zion Williamson - Kylian Mbappe
You may have noticed that two of these men are not like the others. Yeh, you can say that again. Zion Williamson is to basketball what Kylian Mbappe has been to football - a f*cking marvel. No one has even come close to toppling Williamson from the top spot, and its been like that since he was seen dunking from the free-throw line aged eight.
And no one has come close to matching Mbappes gargantuan rise from teenage prospect to Ballon dOr candidate. At the beginning of the NBA season, we compared the Frenchman to Jayson Tatum, by way of greater detailing the similarities between Neymar and Kyrie Irving. This has aged both terribly and terrifically. The Neymar-Kyrie part? Spot on. Tatum-Mbappe? Not so much.
But finally, in Zion, the World Cup winner has a proper basketball compadre. Finally, the 20-year-olds blistering athleticism has a worthy adversary across the pond.
ALSO - and this is key - the New Orleans Pelicans victory at Tuesday nights NBA Draft Lottery means that, notwithstanding potential trades, Zion will be entering a franchise with just about as much right to win the Championship as Paris Saint-Germain have to win the Champions League. Some nice and salty symmetry there.