CHICAGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — It’s been 34 years since the New York Knicks pulled the ultimate rabbit out of their hat and won the first NBA Draft Lottery. Luck wasn’t on their side Tuesday night.
New York lost the 2019 NBA lottery; falling to the third overall pick in June’s draft. New Orleans bucked the odds and won the lottery and now will have the first chance at choosing Zion Williamson next month.
The Pelicans won the lottery for the first time since 2012, when they selected Anthony Davis. This lottery win comes after a season when Davis wanted a trade — something that might not seem so appealing to him now, not with Williamson likely coming to New Orleans.
Memphis will choose second, New York third, and the Los Angeles Lakers will pick fourth.
Williamson says he has never been to New Orleans. That might soon change.
“It’s just another positive event for us,” new Pelicans general manager David Griffin said.
The Pelicans were the biggest winners — and the Grizzlies and the Lakers had reason to celebrate as well. They all moved up, much to the chagrin of teams like New York, Cleveland and Phoenix. The Suns, Cavs, and Knicks all had the best chance of winning the lottery, and neither even got as much as a No. 2 pick.
Williamson will have an excellent chance at seeing his name added to the list of other No. 1 picks who entered the league with much fanfare in the lottery era, players like LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson and Allen Iverson.
The Knicks were hoping 1985 repeated itself, when New York won and used that No. 1 pick to draft Patrick Ewing — who represented the franchise on stage Tuesday night.
“We’re proud to have one of the all-time Knicks greats sit on the dais,” Knicks president Steve Mills said before the draft.
Cleveland will pick fifth, Phoenix sixth, Chicago seventh, Atlanta eighth, Washington ninth, Atlanta again at 10th, Minnesota 11th, Charlotte 12th, Miami 13th and Boston 14th. That pick was conveyed to the Celtics by Sacramento as part of an earlier trade.
Williamson was watching the lottery result unveiling from a stageside seat, along with Murray State’s Ja Morant, Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver, Indiana’s Romeo Langford and more. Williamson was one of three now-former Duke starters at the lottery — R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish were among the invited players as well.
“For three of us to be here, it’s crazy,” Williamson told NBA TV before the event started. “I don’t think you usually see anything like that.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)