Contrary to popular belief, the Pelicans, Knicks, and Lakers all came up as winners.
The NBA Draft played out like a guy with three wives, juggling everything he can to make each one happy to no avail.
There are some people who think that the NBA Draft was “rigged” when New Orleans ended up with the first pick. They had just a six percent chance of landing it entering the draft, but the odds were in their favor on Tuesday night.
Whether intentional or coincidental, the NBA Lottery tried its best to accommodate the Pelicans who will eventually lose Anthony Davis in 2020 free agency if they don’t trade him, while also helping the two biggest markets in the sport get back on track.
The scenario didn’t play out how most of us expected, but now that the lottery is set, it lays the foundation for some Draft night wheeling and dealing the likes of which we haven’t seen in some time.
Here’s my takeaways from Monday night’s Draft Lottery
New Orleans is setting up an Anthony Davis haul.
The Knicks were the worst team in the NBA last season, but the Pelicans were the most disrespected and abused. First, Anthony Davis shuts down and publically requests a trade and then he tries to partner with Magic, LeBron and Rich Paul to basically force a trade to the Lakers.
Despite offering the kitchen sink, the Pelicans were so offended by the power move that they rebuffed every Lakers trade offer out of spite and kept Davis on the roster, playing him sparingly.
Even with the No. 1 pick joining him, there’s no way Davis wants to stay in New Orleans. Besides, Davis has played with a Top 5 big man before in DeMarcus Cousins and the two had minimal success. There’s no guarantee that adding Zion is going to make New Orleans a contender in the West.
You have to figure that the Knicks with the No. 3 pick and some young pieces are in a position to offer a package for AD. GM David Griffin and the Pelicans would have to believe that a Zion Williamson/RJ Barrett Duke reunion would be a tremendous replacement for AD and also star foundation pieces for a new era.
The Lakers, with their abundance of young players and the No. 4 overall pick will also be candidates to get back in on the Davis sweepstakes. Linda Rambis, Jeanie Buss, and Co. can sweeten the deal a bit with a Top 5 pick. Landing the No. 1 pick definitely softened the sting of this year’s New Orleans fiasco, which head coach Alvin Gentry referred to as a “dumpster fire” back in February.
They have to pray that New Orleans isn’t still sour.
Zion Doesn’t Want To Play In New Orleans
Zion didn’t look elated when New Orleans got the first pick. He actually appeared stunned. You could see that he never considered becoming a Pelican and has no desire to join a franchise that Davis can’t get away from quick enough.
New Orleans is a terrible destination for a superstar like Zion. For one, it’s the 50th rated TV market in the country. That’s not going to cut it when it comes to marketing the biggest name to enter the league in years. He was licking his chops to come to New York.
In addition, as Max Kellerman mentioned on ESPN this morning, the Pelicans are considered a cheap organization who don’t value their superstars. The franchise claims to have discontinued the practice, but in previous years New Orleans would cut corners with the medical staff by using the New Orleans Saints’ staff because the owners controlled both teams. They sacrificed player safety to make a cheap profit.
As a result,” he said, “they lose more player minutes to injury year in and year out than any other team.”
Those kinds of executive decisions are a bad look to a guy like Zion, who’s coming off an injury that limited his time at Duke.
Knicks Fan Have To Think More Positively
If the Knicks drew the top pick, they would have been forced to choose Zion. That’s the player that most fans wanted because he comes with the most hype. Maybe now that they have the No.3 pick, the Knicks can focus on acquiring AD, a 26-year-old superstar entering his prime, rather than taking a chance on an unknown entity.
Fans are reacting emotionally, not logically.
A team in the Knicks’ position doesn’t have time to hope. Davis is a sure thing if you are talking about a transcending player that can dominate night in and night out. Then, the summer becomes even more interesting for New York who the entire world knows is going to put a full court press on Kevin Durant and it’s expected that if Durant arrives Kyrie Irving will follow.
The immediate emotion for the Draft is understandable. That’s what the NBA wants. For fans and media to focus more on the draft than the Alabama State Senate passing draconian abortion laws.
It’s definitely working as the entire basketball world has an opinion. We just won’t really know anything about the Draft until it’s complete and the final narrative won’t play out until the summer.