NBA Draft Lottery

2019 NBA Draft Lottery: Pelicans Win No. 1 Pick, and the Right to Select Zion Williamson

Though not among the teams that appeared to tank for draft position, the Pelicans had trouble focusing all season because of drama surrounding a trade demand from their signature star, Anthony Davis.

As the audience waited for Mark Tatum, the N.B.A.’s deputy commissioner, to announce the top four picks, Griffin stood onstage at the Hilton Chicago with the representatives of the three other teams that had yet to learn their fate.

To his right loomed Patrick Ewing, the Hall of Fame Knicks center who was representing his former team, and to his left was Elliot Perry, a part-owner of the Memphis Grizzlies.

However enviable the Pelicans’ circumstances seemed in that moment, the team must resolve the complications of having a disgruntled superstar and the opportunity to pick Williamson, who plays power forward, the same position as Davis.

Until that loss, the only thing that had slowed Williamson’s progress was a knee injury sustained when one of his sneakers split apart in the opening minute of a game against North Carolina in February.

In what should be viewed as a positive development by the league office, the fates of the Knicks, the Cavaliers and the Suns lent credibility to the new lottery system, which ended up flattening out the benefits of a bad record.

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