The New Orleans Pelicans benefitted from the new NBA draft lottery format to win the number 1 overall pick.
• Do they keep Davis until Feb and play him with Zion?
• If he demands to be traded anyway what do they want in return?
• Do they Anthony Davis on draft night?
The Pelicans Win the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery
Usually when you get the first overall pick, it helps your franchise plan out it’s immediate future around that player. The is the second time this decade that the Pelicans have won the draft lottery which means they are very lucky but also means they haven’t been very good. Now comes the most difficult summer in franchise history. Their franchise star, Anthony Davis, is one of the 5 best players in the NBA. He has also made it clear he doesn’t want to play for New Orleans anymore. He went as far as wearing this t-shirt at the last home game of the season:
Now that the Pelicans will have Zion Williamson will Anthony Davis change his mind? If he still wants to leave where do, they send him? The Pelicans seems to have more questions than answers heading into the draft on June 20th at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
What if Anthony Davis Stays?
That scenario is very unlikely after Davis made it very clear that he wanted out back in January. What ensued has been well documented and there are many around the league that feel like winning the first overall pick is a just reward for what Davis and his trade demand did to this New Orleans franchise. There is a scenario for the Pelicans where they keep Anthony Davis and play him alongside Zion Williamson until February for a few reasons. First of all, unless they get the deal they want, the Pelicans have no reason to trade Davis while he is still under contract. Bringing him back isn’t the ideal scenario for the franchise, especially from a fan perspective but the reality is they have to do what’s best for the roster. If they play Davis and Williamson together, there is a chance they might actually be good.
Again it is a very unlikely scenario given how determined Davis seems to be to play for a better team but if the NBA did get half a season of Davis-Williamson, that would be amazing. A high low consisting of those two would probably be the best inside combo in the league. Their skill sets compliment each other especially defensively. The level of rim protection the Pelicans would have would be the best in the league and when you add to that Jrue Holiday’s lock down perimeter defense, we could be talking about a playoff team that could make noise.
This Pick Gives the Pelicans a Lot of Options
There doesn’t seem to be a clear plan should Anthony Davis go but in the end that is the most likely scenario. What getting the number pick does is allow the Pelicans to look for offers that best compliments Zion Williamson. If Anthony Davis leaving is the most likely scenario, then trading the number 1 pick would have to be the least likely. Other than the fact that Zion looks like a once in a generation talent, he will be significantly cheaper than Davis or any star player for the next few seasons while his game develops.
The other thing is the unprecedented hype:
In the hours immediately after the Zion news and up until 1 a.m. Wednesday, the @PelicansNBA took orders for approximately 2,000 new season tickets, twice as many as they did after earning the No. 1 pick in 2012 (Anthony Davis).
— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) May 15, 2019
That’s less than 6 hours after the draft ended by the way.
There is also very good reason for this level of excitement:
So based on that alone we know that Zion will be a Pelican next year while Anthony Davis will most likely play elsewhere which means that a lot of new players should be coming in return. There are already rumors that they might work out a trade that involves getting the Knicks pick so they can re-unite R.J Barrett and Zion Williamson in the NBA. In terms of winning games in the immediate future it doesn’t make much sense because they both can’t shoot but the potential to have 2 of the 3 best players in a draft class who happen to be very close friends and former teammates sounds too good to be true. If the Pelicans can get these two guys to grow together and build a foundation in the city of New Orleans, June 20th 2019 at the NBA draft could be the beginning of a new era for the Pelicans.
For a taste of how well they can play together, here is the game against Kentucky where they combine for 61 points:
This trade scenario is one of several possibilities that you are sure to hear over the next few weeks. The Lakers still have a lot to offer including the number four pick although it remains to be seen how that works out. The Pelicans don’t seem to want to want to do business with the Lakers but the number 4 overall pick might make the deal too good to pass up. There are now a host of teams in the mix, as there should be with Anthony Davis himself a former number overall pick and when healthy a perennial All-NBA player. He is the type of talent that can really take a franchise to the next level which is what the Pelicans will hope their latest number 1 pick will do for them one day. Until then there is a lot of work to do in New Orleans