Lottery outcome means New Orleans’ first-round pick goes to Sacramento

by Jim Eichenhofer

With just a 1-in-25 chance of keeping the team’s first-round pick during Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, it came as little surprise that the New Orleans Pelicans will convey that selection to the Sacramento Kings, the final piece of the DeMarcus Cousins blockbuster trade from three months ago.

Based on the outcome of the lottery, Sacramento will take over New Orleans’ spot in the first round of the June 22 draft; the Kings will pick No. 10 overall. That was the Pelicans’ pre-lottery slot, after finishing the 2016-17 regular season at 34-48.

New Orleans entered the lottery with a 4.0 percent chance of earning a top-three pick, including a 1.1 percent chance of moving all the way up to the No. 1 choice.

Beyond the Pelicans’ fortunes, a look at some of the other biggest winners and losers from Tuesday’s lottery:



Los Angeles averted what would’ve been a bona fide catastrophe, keeping its pick and also moving up one spot to No. 2 overall. In a worst-case scenario, the Lakers could have lost this year’s first-rounder, as well as the one in 2019.


Boston became the first team in roughly three decades to own the No. 1 overall pick and still be playing in the conference finals. The Celtics will have their choice from a draft class many are calling one of the most talented over the past decade-ish.


Just about all you could ask for from a Sacramento perspective. The Kings took over the Pelicans’ pick, while also moving up to No. 5 by virtue of a pick-swap with Philadelphia. As a result, Sacramento is the only club with a pair of top-10 selections.


Non-lottery Western Conference teams

The West has objectively been better than the East for a generation. This year’s lottery results probably won’t help change that. Sure, East teams earned picks 1 and 3, but West squads garnered four of the top seven choices and six of the top 10.


Phoenix was essentially the only lottery participant among the top three to lose ground Tuesday, slipping from a pre-lottery slot of No. 2 to the fourth pick.