Pelicans Earn the Right to Draft Zion

Colin Koot

The NBA draft lottery was revamped this year to dissuade teams from tanking, and it worked.

The Knicks, Cavaliers, and Suns all had the highest chance of landing the top pick, presumably Zion Williamson. Only the Knicks landed in the top three.

Instead, the New Orleans Pelicans, with just a six percent chance, earned the right to select Zion Williamson in June.

Zion was the best player in college basketball last year, receiving the most hype as an NBA prospect since LeBron James.  He led Duke to an ACC Tournament championship and led everyone to believe that he would be the number one pick come June.

“Williamson finished with the highest player efficiency rating of any NCAA prospect in at least a decade, punishing opponents all season with an unreal mix of power, explosion, quickness and motor,” said Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report.  “But the 18-year-old flashed more than just natural talent. He demonstrated enough ball-handling skill, post moves, touch and defensive versatility to create first-team All-NBA potential. “

The Pelicans are now put into a tough position with their Anthony Davis situation, as nobody knows if his mind has changed.  Earlier in the year, he publicly requested a trade from the Pelicans. The top five player in the league sat on the bench for the majority of the rest of the year.

If Davis decides to change his mind and is willing to stay in New Orleans, then the Pelicans could start to really contend in the Western Conference.  However, if Davis still wants to part ways, they will have a superstar in the making in Zion Williamson.

New Orleans is now in control of their own destiny with what to do regarding Anthony Davis.  They are in the driver’s seat of their future, and GM David Griffin could possibly have the best frontcourt in the Association.

The Grizzlies got the number two pick in the draft, with the Knicks, Lakers, and Cavaliers rounding out the top five.  Ja Morant and RJ Barrett will most likely be picks two and three, but after that it is anyone’s guess.

The commissioner’s new lottery format has worked in his eyes, with the worst teams not automatically getting the top pick.  Now and in the future, teams will probably not have as much incentive to tank as in the past, and this lottery proves it.

The lottery puts a cap on a major part of this past NBA season, the Zion sweepstakes.  Every bad team had the hopes of gaining the best prospect the league has seen in years, and the Pelicans finally ended it, defying the odds to get the number one pick in the NBA draft.