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The NBA Draft lottery is always an exciting time for those teams that failed to make the playoffs. That excitement can either get enhanced or quickly be transformed into dispair depending on whether or not your team received a pick high enough for the player you want.
At the top of this year’s draft, there are a few players that could change a franchise’s fortune almost single handedly. None bigger (literally and figuratively) than Duke Blue Devils forward Zion Williamson. Other players including Williamson’s teammate R.J. Barrett, Murray State guard Jah Morant and a few other names are also viewed as game changing prospects that might catapult their teams to new heights.
The 2019 edition of the lottery can only be deemed as shocking. With an equal 14% chance to pick first overall, the New York Knicks, Pheonix Suns, and Cleveland Cavaliers would hardly get a sniff at the top spot. Instead, it was the New Orleans Pelicans (6% chance) snatching that first pick and the Memphis Grizzlies (6% chance) going right after.
Not only do the Pelicans win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes but they can now try to persuade their superstar Anthony Davis. Ironically, the Pelicans were said to be ready to trade Davis to the team that eventually landed the freshman phenom.
It remains to be seen if the Pelicans can keep the combo of Davis and Williamson together but they are your big winners of the night.
If Memphis stays at No. 2 (barring a trade), then Morant will most likely be the guy there. Veteran guard Mike Connelly is not only getting up there in age but he’s owed some huge money in the upcoming seasons.
The Knicks at least, salvaged a top three pick and can at least draft one Duke freshman in Barrett. With the swirling speculation of a Kevin Durant defection to New York, Barrett could be the perfect rookie to flank Durant and whatever other free agents they lure there.
The Los Angeles Lakers have to feel like Luck was on their side during the lottery. With fan favorite Kyle Kuzma there to represent the team, the Lakers (and their robust 2% chance) snuck into the fourth slot. With all the turmoil surrounding the team, the Lakers are hoping to pull off a “Men In Black” scenario and totally wipe out the 2018-2019 season out of their memory banks.
They could draft a nice wing player that can shoot from long range to add to a group of good young players and LeBron James. They also have a nice shiny piece in case they are looking to explore trade options in the off-season.
A Big Let Down:
The Suns can’t be too thrilled at not getting into the top three with their odds being so high. The Suns ended up with the No. 6 pick and their dreams of combining Morant with Devin Booker and Dandre Ayton are all but over.
They will definitely be looking to draft a point guard to round out their young squad.
On The Fence:
The Atlanta Hawks walked into lottery night with a 12.5% (fifth best) chance at the first pick and a chance at another lottery pick courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks’ pick fell right in the range they thought it would be at 10 but their own pick fell down all the way to eight.
The Hawks already feature Trae Young and John Collins, so to say they lost with two top 10 picks is a stretch. Atlanta will definitely be looking for a two-way wing player to compliment that combo. With some due diligence, they could actually still have the best draft out of all the teams by getting a couple of quality guys that fit their system.
The table is now set and in the coming weeks and you will see a few more moves before the actual draft as itself. Those lottery balls will alter the lives for these prospects and these teams picking at the top. Only time will tell us the true winners.