An historic week for the New Orleans Pelicans came to a peak Thursday evening when general manager David Griffin and the front office chose Zion Williamson with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
"We had a rather eventful evening," said Griffin, the team's executive vice president of basketball operations, as he plopped down at a temporary dais set up in the Pelicans' media room.
It had, after all, been a long day.
An hour earlier, Griffin had been seated around a table with coach Alvin Gentry, scouts and other members of the Pelicans' front office in their temporary "war room" phoning into New York City. The room erupted into cheers and sharing of high-fives when the Williamson pick was finally made.
"We are [beginning to] crescendo now," Griffin said. "I think it is only going to continue to grow."
Selecting Williamson first was a predictable move, but a win the smarting Pelicans desperately needed.
It has been a riotous few months for the franchise. Anthony Davis, their best player, publicly requested a trade in February. The move sent the team into a tailspin. Days after then-general manager Dell Demps failed to send off Davis by the February trade deadline, he was fired. The Pelicans then stumbled to an awkward end of the season.