With the first pick of the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night (June 20), the New Orleans Pelicans selected Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson.
New Orleans landed the pick in the May 14 lottery despite only having 6% odds at doing so. When it did, it earned the right to draft Williamson, perhaps the most-hyped prospect to come into the league since LeBron James in 2003.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson has been on the national radar for years thanks to social media. Now, the hype -- and the considerable talent -- comes to New Orleans.
“I just want to be in the NBA,” Williamson said Wednesday at pre-draft availability. “I didn’t have a favorite team growing up. Just to be in the NBA is all I ask for. Whatever team I end up with, I know I’m going to give my all.”
Williamson was considered by some to be not only the best offensive talent in the draft but the top defensive prospect as well. He was the consensus National Player of the Year during his freshman (and only) season at Duke.
Williamson joins a Pelicans roster that is still changing. Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin has started to build the team around Williamson. The Pelicans agreed to a deal with the Lakers that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart as well as three first-round picks.