Zion Williamson

USA Today

Zion Sweepstakes

The Pelicans just turned the seventh best odds into Zion Williamson.

May 15, 2019 - 10:52 am

The NBA Draft Lottery was last night. And normally, I wouldn’t lead a show with the announcement of the order of something that will take place in more than a month. That would kind of be like Aaron Boone announcing the Yankees batting lineup for their June 20th 7:05pm game against Houston and me leading the show with it. Except most announcements of draft order do not have the drama that last night did. In fact, none of them.

First off, the stakes were incredible. Get the number one pick and you get a chance at a generational, transcendent player in Zion Williamson.

Secondly, the location. As was pointed out on Twitter, the draft lottery was being held in the Hilton Chicago, the same hotel where Harrison Ford confronted the evil scientist in The Fugitive.

In other words, the drama was thick last night. Incredibly thick.

And the first sign that it was going to get nuts was when the 11th pick was revealed and it wasn’t the Lakers, meaning LA had jumped up. And then it got a little more wild when the 9th pick was the Wizards, which meant that Memphis and New Orleans had jumped up.

I haven’t seen people tripping that hard in the Chicago Hilton ballroom since Dr. Richard Kimble told everyone that the samples had been switched.

At this point, the drama was building. And then came even more action, when deputy commissioner Mark Tatum revealed that the fifth pick in the draft was going to Cleveland. That meant that the Knicks were in the top four.

So four teams were left for the final pick: The New Orleans Pelicans, The Memphis Grizzlies, The New York Knicks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. The two biggest markets in the top four. Zion having a chance to go to one of the two most historic franchises. It could not have been going any better.

Could the Lakers have puked all over themselves for the last 5 weeks and still end up with Zion? Could the Knicks get Zion and either keep him or deal him to get Anthony Davis and get a new Big Three this summer?

Obviously, at this point, when you’re in the top four, you’re wanting your name NOT to be called. You want to wait as long as possible before your hear your name.

So it is now time to go to the reactions. And here’s the thing - I could do a whole show of just reaction videos from Knicks fans, but I won’t. Because most of them are either fake or pathetic. Or both.

Just like I could spend time on the person who got a Zion Knicks tattoo before the draft, but I won’t because that person did it just to get run and attention.

But here was the reaction from one group of Knicks fans when the Cavs were announced as the fifth pick.

The Knicks are in the top four! The Dream is alive. Hashtag Knicks Tape is back. And then… the Lakers are revealed as the fourth pick. And it is on.  THE BIG DAWG IS COMING TO NEW YORK!! Knicks fans are partying like crazy…for about two seconds before the third pick is announced.

LIKE the Lakers are revealed as the 4th pick and Knicks fans are freaking out. Hey L.A., tell me how my asssssss tastes!! Talk all the junk you want about stacking your championships and us flying our Billy Joel banner in MSG, and celebrating not great basketball but dopes who drive into houses…. But we’re getting the number one – NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

DAMN THAT WAS COLD! AND HONESTLY, PRETTY HILARIOUS. Knicks fans were euphoric and enjoying the best day of their lives… for about three seconds before it was ripped from them. 

Didn’t even get a commercial break to bask in the glow and to keep on freshening up their photoshops of Zion in a Knicks jersey.

I have never seen cheers turn to f bombs that fast.

And then comes the ultimate reveal and the ultimate party. When it was official that New Orleans was getting the number one pick, the Pelicans ticket office staff lost its collective bleep!

I haven’t seen that many people in shirts and ties freak out like that since the Dow Jones first cracked 26,000. And that reaction was almost as good as Alvin Gentry back in the actual room where the drawing itself took place.

Dropping f-bombs and high-fiving execs from other teams who just lost. That is awesome.

And then there’s the tie that Gentry was wearing, which was the same black and silver tie that Jeff Cohen, former member of the Cavs organization, had worn to the lottery when the Cavs had won three lotteries earlier this decade. There’s a story behind that too.

The Pelicans just turned the seventh best odds into Zion Williamson. And it throws everything up in the air. 

That result was pretty much the only scenario in which the Lakers could get a top four pick and still have a worse chance of trading for Anthony Davis. And not only did the Knicks not get Zion, who they were going to flip to get AD, but their pick probably isn’t good enough to get AD either.

Could Zion coming mean that Anthony Davis might actually stick it out in New Orleans? Or have those bridges already been torched?

And if that’s the case, who can give New Orleans the best package of players and picks to pair with Zion?

This is why Dell Demps and the Pelicans were smart to not trade Davis before the trade deadline. Because you wanted to wait until you found out which team would get the Zion pick. And it turns out, they were the team that got the Zion pick. And now it is officially on. And as for the Lakers, generally, you get exactly what you deserve, but given how many bad decisions they’ve made in recent years, and how badly they’ve jacked up their organization, they really didn’t deserve the good fortune they bumped into last night.  Now they’ve got a pretty good chip. Here’s hoping Linda and Kurt Rambis don’t just give it away. Or lose it. Or just give it to Ced Ceballos to hold for them.