Consensus No. 1
Freshman sensation Zion Williamson is a generational player and consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming 2019 NBA Draft.
- Ja Morant (Murray State) -200
- R.J. Barrett (Duke) +150
- Zion Williamson (Duke) +1000
- Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech) +1200
- De’Andre Hunter (Virginia) +1400
Some say the 18-year-old power forward from Duke is the best player to come along since LeBron James, who was the top pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2003 draft.
“What strikes me? His agility and his quickness,” said James, who has won three NBA championships. “For his size, how strong he is, to be able to move like the way he moves, he’s very impressive.”
Williamson (-2000) is a legitimate superstar in the making. The odds of him not being the first player selected later this month are so low that many betting sites have taken this wager off the board.
But it’s still a horse race to see who will be taken second in the draft with Murray State guard Ja Morant (-200) leading the charge followed by Duke’s R.J. Barrett (+150) (NBA Draft Odds provided by Bovada).
Injuries, trades and pure speculation will alter the NBA Draft Lottery Odds for the annual event, which will be held June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. But your betting line is fixed at the time of your bet.
How Does the Lottery Work?
Only the top four picks are decided by the lottery, and are chosen from the 14 teams that do not make the playoffs.
The team with the worst record in the NBA regular season has the best chance to obtain a higher draft pick. After the top four positions are selected, the rest of the first-round draft order is in inverse order of the win-loss record for the remaining teams. The lottery does not determine the draft order in the subsequent rounds of the draft.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns had the worst records in the 2018-19 season and the best shot in the Zion Williamson lottery, which was held May 14 in Chicago. But it was the New Orleans Pelicans, who had a six per cent chance of gaining the top pick, that beat the odds and won the lottery.
While the lottery was lucky for the Pelicans, it was just the opposite for the Suns. Phoenix got bumped all the way down to sixth in the first round behind New Orleans, Memphis, New York, Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland.
Zion No. 1, Who’s No. 2?
With Williamson No. 1 on everyone’s mock draft, it would be a complete shock if he didn’t end up playing in the Big Easy. The 6-foot-7 talent has the ability to take over games with his massive strength and tremendous skills. He will be an instant hit in New Orleans, especially since the Pelicans have only reached the playoffs twice in the last seven seasons.
Let’s take a look at the contenders for the No. 2 pick, remembering that the selection belongs to the Memphis Grizzlies:
Ja Morant -200
The NBA is no longer just a game for the big man. Ball control and three-point shooting are the focus now more than ever. This 6-foot-3 guard is an athletic playmaker with the potential to lead a franchise like Kyrie Irving or Kyle Lowry. Morant averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore — and got a triple-double against Marquette in the NCAA tournament. The Grizzlies need an exciting floor general. This 19-year-old fits the bill.
R.J. Barrett +150
Barrett was overshadowed by Williamson all season long. The 18-year-old averaged 22.6 points for the Blue Devils along with 7.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. He has great size for a shooting guard at 6-7 and the Canadian has all the tools to start in the NBA after just one season of college ball. He’s great in transition and doesn’t shy away from the big moments when the game is on the line.
Zion Williamson +1000
Talk about a monster. Zion is 285 pounds and he can handle the ball like a point guard. The franchise-changing superstar averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds in 30 minutes per game as a freshman with Duke. The above odds are for Williamson being picked second overall, but it would take something seriously wrong to derail his ascent to the historic pick as No. 1 overall in the 2019 draft.
Jarrett Culver +1200
In a span of just two years, the six-seven guard went from an anonymous recruit to the Big 12 Player of the Year. The 20-year-old averaged 18.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 32.5 minutes per contest this season while helping Texas Tech advance to the championship game of March Madness. Culver is a potential NBA star if his next pro team can fine-tune his shooting.
De’Andre Hunter +1400
Some former NBA players have described this Virginia standout as the Kawhi Leonard of this draft. That’s high praise for the 21-year-old Hunter, who shot 43.8 per cent from the three-point line for the national champions. The ACC defensive player of the year will make any pro team better protecting their basket. He also made great improvements in scoring in just two years of college play.
Pick — Morant (-200). The Grizzlies made it known Morant would be the pick almost immediately after the lottery in May. Only an unlikely blockbuster trade or injury would change that scenario.
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