NBA Draft 2019: 5 Biggest Winners
The NBA Draft used to be an occasion for the basement teams in the league to consolidate their resources and plan their rebuild up until last year. With the changed lottery odds for 2019, however, there were a couple of upheavals, and the #1 overall pick went to the New Orleans Pelicans, who had only the 8th best odds of getting it.
Also rising up the ranks were the Los Angeles Lakers, whose 11th place finish in the lottery sweepstakes were negated by them bagging the #4 overall pick. They used this asset to get verbal confirmation for the Anthony Davis trade. The Lakers, in turn, dealt him to Atlanta in exchange for cap space and assets this upcoming season.
Draft day upheavals aside, however, this was a memorable day for quite a few of the NBA brass and players. Lets take a look at the 5 biggest winners from the draft:
#1 Zion Williamson
First overall picks usually land in terrible situations as rookies. The organisations they join are dumpster fires at the moment and few have scope or the cap space to improve their team via free agency. Even Shaquille O'Neal, who was posterizing entire defenses and bringing backboards down left, right and center in addition to making the All Star game as a rookie, was unable to make the playoffs in his first go-around.
In that sense, Zion is blessed. He heads to an organisation that has completed the hard part of dealing their franchise star, cleared out the old regime and has an excellent VP of basketball operations in David Griffin. Sharing the court with him will be the most underrated player of the league in Jrue Holiday, a walking mismatch in Brandon Ingram and the enigmatic Lonzo Ball.
Griffin did not rest in peace with the 4th pick he acquired from the Lakers, flipping it to Atlanta for future assets. The Pelicans can clear up to 30 million in cap space by July 1, enough to land a solid big man and put them in playoff contention right off the bat. Whether or not they make the cut is a question for a different day.