The New Orleans Pelicans were the winners of the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, securing the No. 1 overall selection and the chance to select perhaps the most highly-coveted college prospect since LeBron James, Zion Williamson. This left Knicks fans heartbroken, as their team finished with this season's worst record, and had the joint-best odds to land the top pick.
Although the Knickerbockers "fell" in the lottery to No. 3 pick, New Yorkers might want to check the actual odds breakdown before they pretend as if they were dealt an unlucky blow.
Things could have been a lot worse for the Knicks; they could have wound up like the Cleveland Cavaliers or Phoenix Suns, who were displaced from the top four despite absolutely terrible records. They have a shot at landing a potential superstar in RJ Barrett or even Ja Morant. All told, there was a 60% chance they'd be picking outside the top three, and they dodged that bullet straight away.
Morant and Barrett, along with Zion Williamson, are considered by NBA analysts to be the three surest things in this draft class, with the subsequent tier of players lagging reasonably behind.. The fact that Knicks fans are whining because they got anything less than the first pick just won't garner any sympathy. The new lottery rules, by which no team has more than a 14% shot at No. 1, are what they are. And the Knicks can still land a big-time player despite all the drama.
Barrett, likely to be the best available player at No. 3, was a can't-miss prospect entering his one-and-done season at Duke. Although Zion's dunks caught the biggest share of attention of the media and fans, the Canadian forward was a humble assassin for Duke this year, and his game has every chance to translate well to the NBA. Zion-or-bust was always an irresponsible outlook; this franchise is absolutely no worse off than it was before.