NBA Draft Lottery: Pelicans Get #1 Pick, Grizzlies #2, Knicks #3, Lakers #4

Wow. Oh, wow.

While the Draft Lottery is anything but binding thanks to the existence of trades, a potential order of the top-four picks was decided last night by the lottery. The lottery works somewhat strangely, but basically, the fourteen worst teams have a shot at the top pick, though it increases the worse that you get. What’s surprising is that there was a 42% chance that the top pick would go to either the Knicks, the Suns, or the Cavaliers, and yet the latter two didn’t even get a top four pick.

Here come the theories: Adam Silver’s rigged this thing against tanking (when you lose purposefully, a lot, to get draft picks; you can see why, regarding the box office, this doesn’t appeal to the commissioner). Three of the four main tanking teams– Atlanta, Cleveland (it all fell apart when LeBron left), Phoenix, and New York– did not even get a top four pick.

Anyway, surprisingly enough, the New Orleans Pelicans (6% chance) were randomly selected as the team to pick first in next month’s draft. Now for what all of this has to do with Duke: Zion Williamson is at least presumably going to go #1 assuming that general manager David Griffin and the Pels’ front office haven’t lost their minds (wouldn’t put it past them with all this Anthony Davis drama).

The #2 and #3 picks went to Memphis, which has trade implications and could go to Boston, and New York respectively. Ja Morant and RJ Barrett are the two contenders fro these spots; it is likely that when one is taken at that #2 spot the other will follow. Duke fans should probably hope for Memphis for RJ– New York is no place to develop as a young player.

If you follow the NBA even remotely, you’ve probably heard the name Anthony Davis, or “The Brow” (didn’t he get rid of his unibrow?). Davis asked for a trade from New Orleans a couple of months ago, most likely trying to get to LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, but the Lakers couldn’t get something done by the trade deadline on February 7. Davis hardly played for the Pelicans, knowing that he could risk getting injured. This pick has big trade implications regarding that, as well as the picks of Los Angeles and other Davis-contenders. But could the Pelicans decide that the drama is worth it for a Davis-Zion duo?

Bleed blue. The NBA Draft is on June 20. Neither Javin DeLaurier nor Marques Bolden has made any decision on returning to Duke or remaining in the draft. Javin did not get an invite to the NBA Draft Combine after the G-League Combine (prospective draft picks and G-League players combined). There is not yet word on Marques’ status.

Zion Williamson is Naismith Player of the Year

Zion Williamson, shocking the world, is officially the third freshmen in the history of the award to win Naismith Player of the Year! (That was a joke). He’s among renowned previous recipients: the other two freshmen to win it are currently two of the best players in the NBA today, Anthony Davis (2012) and Kevin Durant (2007). Zion won the award over fellow rookie Ja Morant of Murray State but also upperclassmen Rui Hachimura of Gonzaga and Grant Williams of Tennessee. The award is usually given to older players, but Zion’s freshman season was electrifying enough that even with missing 5 99/100 games late in the regular season, it wasn’t close.

Zion is the eighth Duke player to win the award, but surprisingly enough the first since JJ Redick in 2006. Now, all eyes lie on the voters for the Wooden Award. Only Zion’s youth stands between him and the final piece to his phenomenal trophy case, but if you’re a voter, are you really going to pass over a season like his because of his age?

Bleed blue.