CHICAGO — The NBA Draft Lottery . The flattened lottery odds, plus selecting four teams in the lottery instead of three, turned this lottery into a doozy.
The Los Angeles Lakers, who had the 11th-best odds (2% chance at the No. 1 overall pick), jumped all the way to fourth. The New York Knicks, who shared the best odds (14% chance at the No. 1 overall pick) fell to third. And two teams with the seventh-best odds – 6% chances apiece at the No. 1 overall pick – jumped the crowd and will select No. 1 and No. 2. The Memphis Grizzlies have the second pick, and the New Orleans Pelicans have Zion Williamson.
The top three picks ought to be obvious. Zion to the Pelicans: Duh. (Dear God: Please have Anthony Davis rescind that trade request.) The Grizzlies taking Ja Morant feels like the easy move, then the Knicks taking R.J. Barrett.
After that is where things get interesting. The Lakers, if they choose to keep the No. 4 pick, may have the most difficult position in the entire draft. Do you pick a high-upside player who could take some time to develop – time that would put him outside LeBron’s window? Or do you take a lower-ceiling player who is ready to contribute to winning now? Or do you just use it as a trade chip?