Coming into Tuesday’s lottery for the 2019 NBA draft, most people around the league knew there was an increased chance for unpredictable results, given the flattened lottery odds in the new system the league implemented this year. But as the drama unfolded, it became clear just how chaotic things were going to be.
The first twist came with the Los Angeles Lakers jumping up from their pre-lottery slot at 11th into the top four, which caught the eye of Lakers guard Josh Hart.
When the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans jumped into the top four, it bumped the Atlanta Hawks’ picks down to Nos. 8 (with their own pick) and 10 (with the pick they got from the Dallas Mavericks in last year’s draft-day trade). Players, including Hawks guard Trae Young, were quick to react.
New York Knicks forward Kevin Knox was taken on a roller coaster of emotion. His team was the only one of the three with 14 percent odds of landing the top pick who remained in the top four, but deputy commissioner Mark Tatum pulled the Knicks’ logo out of the envelope for the third pick, dashing hopes of seeing Zion Williamson play 41 games at Madison Square Garden next season.
By the time the New Orleans Pelicans had landed the No. 1 overall pick, multiple players — including Nikola Mirotic, who was traded from New Orleans to Milwaukee earlier this season — were left stunned.
Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., the No. 4 overall pick last season, was happy to see his team land a top-two pick, while LeBron James tweeted his satisfaction with the Lakers landing at No. 4.
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