Pelicans win NBA Draft lottery, chance to pick Zion Williamson
CHICAGO — In a high-stakes NBA Draft lottery Tuesday, the New Orleans Pelicans unexpectedly landed the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft, which could shift the star power of the league for the foreseeable future, thanks to a possible once-in-a-generation talent atop the board.
By virtue of winning the lottery despite having the seventh-best odds, the Pelicans will have the enviable option of drafting Zion Williamson, who spent one season at Duke creating the type of buzz for an NBA prospect not seen since LeBron James in 2003. Williamson, 18, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound multi-position athlete, was the consensus national player of the year and is universally considered a lock to be selected first on June 20. The Pelicans have been engulfed in turmoil for months, as superstar Anthony Davis requested a trade that has yet to be fulfilled.
Though three teams with lower odds — the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans — unexpectedly leaped into the top four, the Grizzlies, Knicks and Lakers came up just short of No. 1, landing the second through fourth picks, respectively. The remaining teams that did not secure a top-four pick were then ordered by worst regular-season records. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, tied with the Knicks for the best odds, ended up fifth and sixth.