With Tuesday night’s lottery results now official, the top 14 picks in the 2019 NBA draft have been set. The lottery order is as follows:
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Memphis Grizzlies
- New York Knicks
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Phoenix Suns
- Chicago Bulls
- Atlanta Hawks
- Washington Wizards
- Atlanta Hawks (from Mavericks)
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- Charlotte Hornets
- Miami Heat
- Boston Celtics (from Kings)
It’s a huge development for the Pelicans, who were facing the potential loss of franchise player Anthony Davis this offseason and only had a 6.0% chance of moving up in the draft. New head of basketball operations David Griffin will now have the opportunity to either sell Davis on staying in New Orleans by adding Duke forward Zion Williamson to play alongside him, or will be able to build around Williamson after trading AD.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, moved up to No. 2 (6.3% chance), putting them in position to potentially select Murray State point guard Ja Morant. Mike Conley, of course, has been the longtime point guard in Memphis, but he has been the subject of trade rumors for the last several months — drafting Morant would be a terrific way to replace Conley if the Grizzlies decide to move the veteran this summer.
Because they jumped up to No. 2, the Grizzlies will keep their pick (top-eight protected) rather than sending it to Boston. Memphis will now owe the Celtics their top-six protected first-round pick in 2020.
Knicks fans will be disappointed not to land a top-two pick, but considering they only had a 40.1% chance to land a top-three selection, things could have been worse. Another Duke prospect, R.J. Barrett, is widely considered the favorite to be the third player off the board, but New York could dangle that pick in trade talks if the team wants to shift into contention mode immediately.
Another big-market team, the Lakers, jumped up to No. 4 despite only having a 9.4% chance at a top-four pick (2.8% for No. 4). The Lakers could shop that pick for immediate help this spring, since they’re in win-now mode during LeBron James‘ tenure.
The Cavaliers, Suns, Bulls, and Wizards are among the losers of the night, having each slid down three spots in the draft order. The Hawks also moved down three spots, but they’ll still pick twice in the top 10, at Nos. 8 and 10.
Atlanta will receive the Mavericks‘ selection at No. 10 as a result of last year’s Luka Doncic/Trae Young swap. The pick was top-five protected, so Dallas would have retained it if it had moved up in the lottery. The Mavs will now own their 2020 and 2022 first-round selections — they’ll owe the Knicks their 2021 first-rounder (unprotected) and their 2023 first-rounder (top-10 protected) due to the Kristaps Porzingis deal.
The Celtics, rather than the Sixers, will receive the Kings‘ pick at No. 14. The 76ers would have swapped first-rounders if that pick had moved up to No. 1, but they’ll keep their own selection instead. Sacramento now has all its first-rounders moving forward.
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