Home Featured News The 2019 NBA draft lottery sets up for an exciting offseason

The 2019 NBA draft lottery sets up for an exciting offseason

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Preparations are made for the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

By Connor MacLachlan

The much anticipated 2019 NBA Draft Lottery took place Tuesday night in Chicago, IL, as the New Orleans Pelicans landed the highly coveted number one overall pick in their back pocket. With several surprises throughout the night, the lottery set up for a very exciting NBA offseason.

There were many questions to be answered about this upcoming offseason, and this year’s lottery only seemed to raise some more. The number one question that was on every team representative’s mind was: Where was Zion Williamson going to end up?

Williamson is the unanimous projected number one overall pick, and the most talked about NBA prospect since a young LeBron James came straight out of high school to enter the league in 2003. Whoever was going to land the number one overall pick in Tuesday night’s lottery, was no doubt going to draft Williamson, and he would be expected to turn the franchise around. With James level comparisons, there are lofty expectations on the 18-year-old Williamson, but he did nothing but live up to the hype in his lone college season at Duke.

The worse a team’s regular season record is, the higher their chance to land the number one overall pick is, so “tanking” during the regular season can be effective, right? “Tanking” refers to an organization deliberately trying to lose in order to set themselves up better in the draft. Several NBA teams have been accused of this in recent history, and this year it would have made more sense than ever, since tanking could have led to drafting Williamson. The problem is, with the new lottery system in place, the NBA is attempting to set more of an even playing field when it comes to the draft.

Though the team with the worst record can no longer receive worse than the fifth pick, they have the same chance as the teams with the second and third worst records to land the number one overall pick. The first year with this newly implemented system is intended to eliminate the process of tanking that bottom tier teams carry out.

So with the New York Knicks (17-65) having the worst record in the NBA, and the Phoenix Suns (19-63) and Cleveland Cavaliers (19-63) not far behind, fans were expecting one of these teams to secure the number one overall pick and a chance to draft Williamson. There are 14 teams that made up Tuesday night’s lottery, and each team was given a percent chance to obtain the number one overall pick. The Knicks, Suns and Cavaliers had the highest chances.

  1. New York Knicks – 14%
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers – 14%
  3. Phoenix Suns – 14%
  4. Chicago Bulls – 12.5%
  5. Atlanta Hawks – 10.5%
  6. Washington Wizards – 9%
  7. Dallas Mavericks – 6%
  8. Memphis Grizzlies – 6%
  9. New Orleans Pelicans – 6%
  10. Minnesota Timberwolves – 3%
  11. Los Angeles Lakers – 2%
  12. Charlotte Hornets – 1%
  13. Miami Heat – 1%
  14. Philadelphia 76ers – 1%

This was one of the most anticipated draft lotteries in over a decade, and it also happened to be one of the craziest. NBA fans everywhere were rooting for a big market team like the New York Knicks or the Chicago Bulls to win the lottery and draft a potential superstar like Williamson. Other fans were wondering what some of the teams might do with the power of the number one overall pick. Besides just granting a team the ability to draft a player like Williamson, the draft pick could also be used as a part of a big trade.

One superstar player who has already established himself as a premier NBA talent and who has also been apart of several trade discussions between teams over the past several months, is New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis. The seven-year NBA veteran is only 25-years-old, and one of the most versatile players in the league. There were rumors going around the league before the lottery began, that if the New York Knicks did indeed land the number one overall pick, they would use it to trade for Davis. This very idea had to be on several teams minds if they were to win the lottery, because it was well-known around the league that Davis wanted to be moved from New Orleans, and that New Orleans wanted to move him to another team. With this circumstance in place, what better way to trade for a superstar like Davis than with the much desired number one overall pick?

As the night unfolded, the lottery’s ping pong balls had little concern for the percent chance that each team had to land the number one overall pick. With a majority of sports fans expecting the New York Knicks to win the lottery and become a perfect fit for Williamson’s marketability as a superstar in the NBA, they were left disappointed with the Knicks landing in the number three overall spot. Other surprises included the three worst records in the league (Knicks, Suns, and Cavaliers) landing outside of the top-2 picks, and the Los Angeles Lakers coming in at the number four overall pick.

  1. New Orleans Pelicans
  2. Memphis Grizzlies
  3. New York Knicks
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Cleveland Cavaliers
  6. Phoenix Suns
  7. Chicago Bulls
  8. Atlanta Hawks
  9. Washington wizards
  10. Atlanta Hawks (from Dallas)
  11. Minnesota Timberwolves
  12. Charlotte Hornets
  13. Miami Heat
  14. Boston Celtics (from Sacramento via Philadelphia)

All eyes are on the New Orleans Pelicans because they can now answer two of the biggest questions of the NBA offseason. Where will Davis end up by the start of the 2019-20 season? And who will draft former Duke superstar Williamson? The Pelicans are in control of the NBA offseason once it begins with the much anticipated draft on Thursday, June 20.

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