The New Orleans Pelicans were fortunate to turn up the franchise-changing ping pong ball to win the No. 1 pick at Tuesday night’s NBA draft lottery, despite entering the day with just a 6% chance of winning. They beat out 13 other hopeful teams looking to draft Williamson, the Duke sensation who’s the presumptive top pick in June after a highlight-reel freshman season in which he was college basketball’s national player of the year.
Draft Zion Williamson and keep Anthony Davis: This is the dream scenario. Hopefully getting Zion is is enough, along with Jrue Holiday, to convince Davis that New Orleans has the makings of a Big 3. Along with the Pelicans being able to pay Davis a lot more money than anyone else, maybe this can convince him to reconsider his stance on wanting out.
Assuming Davis’ resolve holds, New Orleans has a ton of options on the table. Whatever package the Pelicans eventually trade for Davis will likely be built around the future, meaning new GM David Griffin will be able to put together the type of promising young core that never really lined up alongside Davis. If, for example, the Pelicans traded Davis to the Boston Celtics, they would likely have Williamson, Jayson Tatum and a horde of draft picks going forward. If they dealt him to Los Angeles, they would likely have the No. 4 pick and some combination of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and other promising young players.
New Orleans had a six percent chance of winning the lottery Tuesday night. The Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and Knicks 14 percent each had the best chances of winning the top overall pick, but none of the teams secured a top-2 selection.
The Cavaliers will pick fifth, Phoenix sixth, the Chicago Bulls seventh, the Atlanta Hawks eighth, the Washington Wizards ninth, Atlanta again at 10th, the Minnesota Timberwolves 11th, the Charlotte Hornets 12th, the Miami Heat 13th and the Boston Celtics 14th. The Celtics obtained the 14th overall pick in an earlier trade with the Sacramento Kings.