So Zion and AD may be a thing.
The New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA Draft lottery Tuesday and the right to the No. 1 pick to perhaps pair up with star big man Anthony Davis.
The #NBADraftLottery order is set! ?
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 15, 2019
The Celtics were with the first team off the board, getting the No. 14 overall pick from the Sacramento Kings.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 15, 2019
The final four teams were the Lakers, Knicks, Grizzlies, and Pelicans.
This year, the teams with the three worst records — the Knicks, Cavaliers, and Suns — all had a 14 percent chance of claiming the top pick. Previously, the team with the worst record had a 25 percent chance, followed by 19.9 and 15.6 percent chances of the next two teams.
The team with the worst record had won the lottery four years in a row, but that was far less likely this time. Because of alterations, more teams could harbor realistic dreams of landing Duke star Zion Williamson with the first choice.
The league’s new format was its fifth tweak to the system since the Knicks unforgettably won the maiden lottery in 1985, getting the chance to draft Patrick Ewing.
The league’s worst team, after a dour 17-65 campaign, is the Knicks. But the league’s new lottery rules also gave the teams with the second- and third-worst records (Cleveland and Phoenix at 19-63) a 14 percent shot at No. 1. The odds have been flattened at the top to discourage tanking, the practice of losing intentionally to improve draft position.
And, in this case, winning Williamson.
The Celtics had plenty of possibilities Tuesday, but getting the No. 1 pick was not one of them. If the Kings were to have jumped up to the top pick, the selection would have gone to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics could have also received another pick Tuesday night, from the Memphis Grizzlies. But the Grizzlies will retain the selection because it was No. 2. Instead, the Celtics will receive the pick in the 2020 draft (top-six protected) on in the 2021 draft (unprotected) if not conveyed next season.
Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren was the team’s representative in the lottery drawing room, and team president Rich Gotham was on the stage during the reveal.