Lottery Notes: Pelicans, Knicks, Cavs, Bulls, C’s

Tuesday night was a massive one for the Pelicans, who won the 2019 draft lottery despite entering the night with just a 6.0% of landing that top pick. As William Guillory of The Athletic details, head coach Alvin Gentry was representing the team in the drawing room and was ecstatic when he learned that the team would be drafting first overall, exclaiming “F— yeah!” and high-fiving other representatives in the room.

While the Pelicans will now have the opportunity to build around super-prospect Zion Williamson, Gentry and new head of basketball operations David Griffin remain optimistic that they can convince their current franchise player – Anthony Davis – to be part of the future as well.

“Guys, the one thing you got to understand is [Davis] is still on our roster,” Gentry said on Tuesday, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “He is on our roster. All of that will take care of itself. I’m not worried about it. I know Griff has some plans to talk to him, and it will be fine.”

For his part, Griffin downplayed the effect that landing the No. 1 pick might have on Davis’ situation, while still indicating that he’d like to keep the All-NBA big man around.

“I understand why people want to link the two, because the assumption is that elite players want to play with other elite players, but this doesn’t change anything with the Anthony Davis situation,” Griffin said, according to Nathan Brown of The Advocate. “Maybe it gives him one more sign that things are changing in a different direction.

“This is just one more positive chip at this point, and if Anthony Davis is trying to decide if he can trust if we can build a winner, I hope we can build evidence of that day after day. And if AD wants to be part of that, wonderful. And if he doesn’t buy into what we’re trying to do, that’s okay too.”

Here’s more on Tuesday’s draft lottery:

  • Within his story linked above, Spears cites a source who says Williamson – who left the draft room without comment after the Pelicans won the lottery – was hoping to end up with the Knicks. The Knicks, who are holding the No. 3 pick, won’t have a shot at Zion now, but they have another Duke player firmly on their radar. A league source tells Adam Zagoria of that New York is expected to meet with R.J. Barrett on Wednesday at the draft combine in Chicago.
  • Moving down to fifth in the draft order was close to a worst-case scenario for the Cavaliers, but as Chris Fedor of observes, it may not be a huge letdown for new head coach John Beilein, who rarely had the opportunity to add five-star recruits during his college coaching career.
  • Bulls executive John Paxson sounds open to the possibility of trading the No. 7 pick, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. “There’s other things you can do with picks to get better,” Paxson said. “You can trade them, you can do a lot of different things. So again, now that we know where we’re at, thankful to know and we’ll get to work trying to find a way to make best use of it.”
  • The Kings’ pick didn’t move up from No. 14 and the Grizzlies kept their own first-rounder, but things could have gone much worse for the Celtics on lottery night, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explains.
  • Sean Deveney of Sporting News takes a look at some of the winners and losers of Tuesday’s lottery, while ESPN’s Zach Lowe passes along several interesting nuggets from behind the scenes of the event.
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