Pelicans Win 2019 Draft Lottery, Have Opportunity to Draft Zion Williamson

Anthony Davis might be walking back on his trade request.

The Pelicans landed the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft after winning the lottery despite having just a six percent chance to do so. New Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin has publicly stated his desire to keep Davis in New Orleans despite the forward’s trade request and is now armed with the top pick in the upcoming draft to do so.

The focus now falls on whether New Orleans will indeed select Duke F Zion Williamson, the consensus top prospect. Williamson and Davis could be a formidable frontcourt pairing for the Pelicans for years to come if the latter decides to stay in the Big Easy.

This is a coup for Griffin, who inherited the VP job in New Orleans after a tumultuous end to the season. Davis’ trade request sent the team into a spiral it was never able to get out of and the fortunes of the franchise looked bleak. Griffin said he felt his relationship with Rich Paul, Davis’ agent, would be key in salvaging a relationship with the superstar. According to Stadium NBA Insider Shams Charania, Davis’ stance on the trade has not changed yet.

[RELATED: How the Pelicans Failed Anthony Davis]

The Grizzlies, Knicks and Lakers round out the top four selections with the Cavaliers picking fifth. Memphis and Los Angeles moved into the top-4 from eighth and 11th, respectively.

According to Charania, the Knicks could’ve looked to package the top selection in a trade for Anthony Davis if they won the lottery. The Lakers, who were also in pursuit of Davis at the trade deadline, could’ve also been in play if they won the lottery. If Griffin cannot convince Davis to stay, he can still send him to New York or Los Angeles and get a high draft pick in return.

The Suns, Bulls, Hawks, Wizards and Mavericks rounded out the top 10 selections with Atlanta taking Dallas’ pick after last year’s Luka Doncic – Trae Young trade. The Timberwolves, Hornets, Heat and Kings finished out the lottery with Boston claiming Sacramento’s pick in a trade with the 76ers invovling Markelle Fultz.

At the end of the day, New Orleans is the ultimate winner in the draft lottery. The Pelicans are now armed with the chance to pair Davis and Jrue Holiday with a young star, potentially Williamson, and compete in the loaded Western conference. New Orleans can also still attempt to send Davis to the Knicks or Lakers to land another top-4 draft pick, along with other assets.

Either way, Griffin is set up perfectly to re-tool the Pelicans on the fly. All eyes around the league are now on him. His next move will impact the landscape of the league.

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