2019 NBA Draft Lottery results, takeaways: Pelicans land top pick, likely Zion Williamson; Knicks, Lakers take Nos. 3 and 4
This is the second time the Pelicans will have the No. 1 pick
The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery brought all sorts of drama and intrigue as the New Orleans Pelicans won the right to the No. 1 overall pick. They had just a six percent chance of landing the top pick coming into the draft, but the odds were in their favor on Tuesday night.
Rounding out the top five is the Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers. Knicks fans didn't get the No. 1 pick they were hoping for, but No. 3 is a solid landing spot. As for the Lakers, they made a big leap. They were in the No. 11 slot heading into the lottery, and had just a 9.4 percent chance of jumping into the top four, but that's just where they landed at No. 4.
The big loser here is the Suns, who had the second-worst record in the regular season, and a 14 percent chance of the No. 1 pick, but fell all the way to No. 6. They did have the No. 1 pick last year though, so perhaps they used up all their lottery luck.
With Duke sensation Zion Williamson expected to be the No. 1 overall pick, there was plenty at stake this year. Every team would have been thrilled to win the right to take the big man, who is one of the best prospects to come along in years.
The Draft Lottery -- held annually since 1985 -- determines the order in which teams who did not make the playoffs will select in that year's NBA Draft. Technically, the first four picks were the only ones decided by the lottery system. After the first four picks, the remaining teams were ordered by the inverse of their regular season records.
Here are a few takeaways from the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery:
Pelicans get Zion no matter what
Leading up to the Draft Lottery, there was all sorts of speculation about whether the team that won the right to the No. 1 pick would try to turn around and trade it to the Pelicans as part of an Anthony Davis trade package. That was especially true if the Knicks -- or the Lakers once we knew they moved up into the top four -- won the top pick.
Instead, the Pelicans ended up winning the lottery themselves. Now, they'll get Zion Williamson no matter what happens. Plus, it adds even more intrigue to their offseason plans. At his introductory press conference, new team president David Griffin mentioned that they haven't given up hope of convincing Davis to stay. Whether that was genuine, or just an attempt to raise the price on a trade package isn't clear, but winning the No. 1 pick can only make their case better if they truly hope Davis will stay. And if he doesn't, they now have Williamson as a replacement centerpiece.
There's no question they're the biggest winners of the night.
Lakers make a big jump
The Lakers' first season with LeBron James was nothing short of a disaster, both on the court and off, but Tuesday night could be the first sign of a turnaround. They were in the No. 11 slot heading into the lottery after finishing the regular season with a 37-45 record, and had only a 9.4 percent chance of jumping into the top four. But that's right where they landed, securing the No. 4 pick in next month's draft.
That's a huge boost for their prospects of swinging an Anthony Davis trade. There were plenty of mixed signals sent out both ahead of and after the trade deadline a few months ago, but one of the main takeaways seemed to be that the Pelicans didn't think the Lakers' trade package was good enough. Without being in the Pelicans' front office, it's impossible to know if that feeling has changed, but the Lakers' first-round pick this year being No. 4 instead of say, No. 10 or 11 is an immense difference. And even if the Lakers don't pull off the Davis trade, the same is true. They'll get a much higher level prospect to help the team next season and moving into the future.
Knicks don't get No. 1, likely won't get A.D.
The Knicks finished the regular season with the worst record in the league at 17-65, but with the new lottery odds implemented this season, their chances of getting the top pick dropped from 25 percent to 14 percent. And as we know now, they did not get the No. 1 pick. Though they did still remain in the top three with the No. 3 pick, that likely ends their hope of working their way to an Anthony Davis trade.
It was always going to be difficult for the Knicks to build a trade package that could compete with the offers from the Lakers and the Celtics, but winning the No. 1 pick would have been their big trump card. Instead, the Pelicans themselves got the first pick, and now can just take Zion Williamson themselves. Still, getting the No. 3 pick isn't a bad consolation prize for the Knicks, as they should add a nice young player to either continue their rebuild or complement whatever stars they're able to sign in the summer.
Recap NBA Draft Lottery
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