It’s time for the NBA draft lottery, the time of year when some team will have a reward after a dismal season.
It won’t be the Los Angeles Lakers though. His campaign disaster will make a good year for the New Orleans Pelicans even better.
The Pelicans are the only team that qualified for the playoffs that luck could smile on when the draft lottery is drawn Tuesday night in Chicago.
The Houston Rockets, the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons share a 14% chance each win to win the lottery and have the first pick for the NBA draft on June 23 in New York.
Jabari Smith (Alabama); Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga); and Paolo Banchero (Duke), are among the best college players available for the draft.
The Rockets, Magic and Pistons are young teams that finished bottom of the league, the kind of teams the lottery is supposed to benefit from.
Then there are the Pelicans.
Like many in the NBA, New Orleans anticipated the Lakers to be a winning team, a championship contender. But there was the debacle of LeBron James and company, finishing 33-49, the eighth worst in the league, leaving New Orleans in position to cash in one of its chips from the trade that brought Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.
The Pelicans will have the Lakers’ pick as long as it stays in the top 10, and there’s a 99.6% chance of that happening.
Vice president of baseball operations David Griffin said no one on the Pelicans expected to get the pick from the Lakers this season, in which New Orleans rallied from a 1-12 start to a playoff run, led by acquired Brandon Ingram. in a trade with Los Angeles.