Mark Tatum addresses the audience at the 2019 draft lottery

Tiebreaker drawing places Pelicans in No. 10 pre-lottery slot

by Jim Eichenhofer

Luck was not on New Orleans’ side Tuesday afternoon, but it’s much more important that fortune smiles upon the Pelicans four weeks from now.

The NBA held a tiebreaker drawing Tuesday to determine the pre-lottery ordered slots for New Orleans, Chicago and Sacramento, teams that finished the 2020-21 regular season in a three-way tie with identical records of 31-41. The Bulls won the drawing, placing them in the No. 8 pre-lottery position, while the Kings gained the No. 9 spot and the Pelicans will be 10th.

That outcome will not affect New Orleans’ mathematical odds at the May 22 draft lottery. All three deadlocked clubs enter that event with a 4.5 percent chance of winning and claiming the No. 1 overall pick at the July 29 draft. In 2019, the Pelicans won the draft lottery and the right to select Zion Williamson, despite odds of just 6.0 percent.

This time, New Orleans will have roughly a 20 percent chance of moving into the top four of a draft many regard as boasting a top tier of a handful of very promising prospects. As a result of today’s drawing, the Pelicans can only pick 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14. There is a roughly 61 percent chance that New Orleans gets the 10th pick.

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