In an unexpected twist at the NBA Draft Lottery, the New Orleans Pelicans landed the No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft and Duke’s Zion Williamson is expected to start his professional career with in the Big Easy.

David Griffin Lottery New Orleans Pelicans
David Griffin from the New Orleans Pelicans is jubilant after the Pelicans landed the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. (Image: Nuccio DiNuzzo/AP)

The Pelicans were projected with the #7 pick, but they had a glimmer of hope with a 6 percent chance to land the top pick. Now that the Pelicans hit the lottery and won the first pick in the draft, can they persuade disgruntled Anthony Davis to stay with the team? Otherwise, the Pelicans have the perfect opportunity to rebuild the team with the #1 pick. Plus, whatever they can get in exchange for trading Davis. The Boston Celtics are one of the teams that have a huge interest in Davis, along with the LA Lakers.

The Memphis Grizzles are celebrating because they did not expect that had a legit shot at a top pick, let alone the second overall. The Griz were estimated to have the #8 pick overall. Ja Morant from Murray State is projected to go second.

1. New Orleans Pelicans
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. New York Knicks
4. LA Lakers

The New York Knicks were in tanking mode all season with the hopes of bringing Zion Williamson to the Big Apple. Instead, it looks like the Knicks will still get his Duke teammate, RJ Barrett with the third overall pick.

Meanwhile, the Magic Johnson-less LA Lakers pulled a little magic out of their hats. The Lakers locked up the #4 pick in the draft. A top-notch rookie will get the chance of a lifetime and play on the same team as LeBron James.

Punish the Tankers

The NBA modified the draft process this year in order to punish teams that were losing on purpose in order to get a good draft pick. The New York Knicks were the worst team in the NBA last season with a 17-65 record. They sucked on purpose with the hopes of bringing Zion Williamson to MSG.

The Phoenix Suns landed the top pick last year in the 2018 NBA Draft. They were in tank mode once again hoping to secure another lottery pick. Their plan backfired this year. Despite winning just 19 games, the Suns only locked up the #6 pick.

The Cleveland Cavs were tied for the second-worst record in the NBA. You cannot really fault them after LeBron skipped town a second time and left the team in shambles.

5. Cleveland
6. Phoenix
7. Chicago
8. Atlanta
9. Washington
10. Atlanta*
11. Minnesota
12. Charlotte
13. Miami
14. Boston*

Atlanta’s #10 pick is from Dallas for the Trae Young/Luka Doncic swap last year. Boston’s #14 pick is originally from Sacramento via the Philadelphia Sixers.

The Hawks currently have a pair of picks in the Top 10 with #8 and #10. They are in a position to package those picks and trade up, or grab the two best players available.

The actual 2019 NBA Draft takes place on Thursday, June 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.