New Orleans have bucked the chances and won the NBA draft lottery, and now will have the first possibility at picking Zion Williamson next month.
The Pelicans won the lottery out of the blue since 2012, when they chose Anthony Davis. Furthermore, the lottery win comes after a season when Davis needed an trade – something that probably won’t appear to be so speaking to him now, not with Williamson likely coming to New Orleans.
Memphis will pick second, New York third and the Los Angeles Lakers will pick fourth.
Williamson says he has never been to New Orleans. That might soon change.
“It’s just another positive event for us,” new Pelicans general manager David Griffin said.
The Pelicans were the biggest winners – and the Grizzlies and the Lakers had motivation to celebrate as well. They all climbed, a lot to the chagrin of teams like New York, Cleveland and Phoenix. The Suns, Cavs and Knicks all had the most obvious opportunity of winning the lottery, and neither even got as much as a No 2 pick.
Williamson will have an amazing shot at seeing his name added to the list of other No 1 picks who entered the league with much fanfare in the lottery time, players like LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson and Allen Iverson.
Cleveland will pick fifth, Phoenix 6th, Chicago seventh, Atlanta eighth, Washington ninth, Atlanta again at tenth, Minnesota eleventh, Charlotte twelfth, Miami thirteenth and Boston fourteenth. That pick was conveyed to the Celtics by Sacramento as part of an earlier trade.
UCF focus Tacko Fall, the 7ft 6in draft hopeful, played against Williamson in the second round of the NCAA tournament – a 77-76 Duke triumph that went down to the absolute last minute, a game where Williamson scored 32 points. Fall was asked Tuesday who he would take with the No 1 pick in this draft, and he didn’t delay for even a second prior replying.
Zion,” Fall said. “He’s a once-in-a-generation player. I’d seen him on TV a lot, but when you play against this kid, you just see it. He’s different.”
Williamson was viewing the lottery result uncovering from a stageside situate, alongside Murray State’s Ja Morant, Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Indiana’s Romeo Langford and more. Williamson was one of three now-former Duke starters at the lottery – RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish were among the invited players as well.
“For three of us to be here, it’s crazy,” Williamson told NBA TV before the event started. “I don’t think you usually see anything like that.”