The New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery and have the number one pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. New Orleans had a 6 percent chance to land the top pick but they overcame the odds and won the NBA Draft Lottery.
Memphis Grizzlies got the number two pick and the New York Knicks landed the third overall pick. The next big shocker was the Los Angeles Lakers landing the number 4 pick while LeBron James’ former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the number five pick. Many fans were irate and rightfully so. The new NBA Draft Lottery rules sabotaged the only thing fans of bad teams were excited for.
The NBA wanted to prevent tanking so they reduced the chances of bad teams getting the number one pick from 25 percent to 14 percent. Instead of the worst team having the best chances to win the top pick, the worst three teams all have a 14 percent chance to win it. Yet, the Pelicans somehow were the ones that won it.
The problem that I have with this is that bad teams will not get better under this format. Instead, teams like the Pelicans and the Lakers who were bad but not that bad will get really high picks. They shouldn’t get really high picks considering they don’t need that much help. The Lakers were in the playoff hunt for most of the season while the Cavaliers were eliminated very early in the season. So it makes zero sense for the Lakers to have a higher pick than the Cavs.
Besides the Cavs, the Phoenix Suns fell to the sixth pick, the Chicago Bulls landed the 7th pick and the Atlanta Hawks got the 8th pick. Those teams got screwed over and I expect the owners of those teams will reach out to the league and complain about the new NBA Draft Lottery rules.
Preventing teams to tank is a good cause but some teams are just bad and can’t compete. There is nobody that thinks the Lakers are as bad as the teams they surpassed in the lottery. I will give the Pelicans a pass but not the Lakers. It is annoying to see the Pelicans land a number one pick while they haven’t even lost Anthony Davis yet, a top three player in the league. That is unfair and will hinder teams that want to get better via the NBA Draft.
We saw teams like the Golden State Warriors and the Milwaukee Bucks improve because of the NBA Draft. They were bad for a while and with great draft picks, they got better. Now, teams that are good but not good enough to make the playoffs will steal a lot of the better picks and development will slow for small market teams that rely on the draft to get better.
Let’s hope this new process is fixed because we saw not one but two mishaps in this draft. Many teams got screwed over and fell a lot more than they should have. The only good news is that the number one prospects won’t have to go to the worst team in the league anymore.