The New Orleans Pelicans win Zion Williamson lottery, will get #1 pick in 2019 NBA Draft

At least it’s not rigged, right?

Anyways, welcome to the New Orleans Pelicans, Zion Williamson.

With only a 6% possibility of having their magic ping pong ball come up first in the NBA Draft Lottery, the odds went in the Pelicans’ favor. With New Orleans, Zion will join Anthony Davis (maybe) and a core of strong players including Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle instead of a younger team with the Knicks, Cavs or Suns.

No doubt there’s a lot of excited fans in the state of Louisiana, as well as New Orleans which is the NBA smallest market.

Going into the NBA Draft Lottery, the Pelicans had a just 6% chance of getting the #1 pick; tied for the eighth highest odds and beat out the Cavs, Suns, Knicks and Bulls all of whom had double the opportunity to walk out with Zion’s draft rights. Take a look at the odds before the draft and the 2019 NBA Draft order:

Lottery Team's Odds and NBA Draft Order
Team Odds at #1 Pick Draft Order
New York Knicks 14.00% #3
Cleveland Cavs 14.00% #5
Phoenix Suns 14.00% #6
Chicago Bulls 12.50% #7
Atlanta Hawks 10.50% #8
Atlanta Hawks 10.50% #10
Washington Wizards 9.00% #9
New Orleans Pelicans 6.00% #1
Memphis Grizzlies 6.00% #2
Dallas Mavericks 6.00% #11
Minnesota Wolves 3.00% N/A
Los Angeles Lakers 2.00% #4
Charlotte Hornets 1.00% #12
Miami Heat 1.00% #13
Sacramento Kings 1.00% N/A
Boston Celtics N/A #14

The NBA Draft Lottery has changed from last year when the team with the worst record had a one-in-four chance of getting the #1 draft pick. In this year’s lottery, the league decided to revamp the NBA Draft Lottery to discourage tanking (that lowers fan engagement and tickets sales). As you can see from the above chart, the three teams with the worst records have only a 14% chance of coming out with the #1 pick.

The Zion Williamson Lottery

Going into the NBA Draft Lottery, the team that has their ping pong ball come out first will be lucky enough to get the first choice in the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20. That number one pick will certainly be Zion Williamson, the 6-7, 280lb,  once-in-a-decade phenom that is expected to change the fortunes of his new franchise.

There’s often one player that stands above the rest as the best player in the draft and every decade or so, there’s one transcendent player that every team covets because they are expected to alter the NBA. In the 1984 it was Patrick Ewing, in 1992 it was Shaquille O’Neal, In 2003 it was LeBron James, and this year it was Williamson. In other words, there’s going to be a lot of Zion Williamson Pelicans jerseys sold this coming season.

One of the few people that don’t believe Zion is the best player in this year’s draft is his Duke teammate R.J. Barrett who thinks he’s the best player in the draft. Murray State’s Ja Morant is expected to the #2 pick in the NBA Draft after Williamson. Barrett is projected to go in the top five along with Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter. Another Duke Blue Devil Cam Reddish is expected to be go in the top ten.

Each one of the magic ping pong balls used in the NBA Draft Lottery are imported from Taiwan and weigh as close to 2.5 grams as possible (about the same weight as a penny) to ensure each ball has the same chance as the others. The ping pong balls then bounce around the “hopper” until a ball comes to rest.

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