Bird strikes! Pelicans win lottery for second time this decade
CHICAGO – New Orleans experienced its share of poor luck on the court during the 2018-19 regular season, in the form of rampant injuries that often left the Pelicans short-handed, particularly in March and April. But for the second time in the team’s last three trips to the NBA Draft Lottery, fortune has smiled upon the franchise.
As was the case in 2012, on Tuesday night New Orleans captured the grand prize of the annual lottery, capturing the No. 1 pick in the June 20 event, despite only 6.0 percent odds. As a result of a series of New Orleans trades involving first-round picks, the only other time the Pelicans have appeared in the lottery since ’12 was three years ago, when they landed the sixth pick, a selection that was ultimately used on shooting guard Buddy Hield.
“We have an opportunity to build something that’s long-term sustainable and meaningful,” Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said prior to the lottery, in an interview aired by NBA TV. “Ownership has really invested in that process. Tonight is about one of the next building blocks involved in that. We’re going to be able to add another strong pillar to our group.”
New Orleans is an incredibly fortunate 2-1 in its last three lottery trips, but Griffin is 2-0 in his excursions to the event. While with Cleveland in ’14, Griffin earned the No. 1 pick for the Cavaliers, who used it on Andrew Wiggins and later parlayed that into the vital addition of Kevin Love.