What is certain to be an eventful offseason that will either set the tone for the team’s next rebuild or a quick transformation back into a postseason contender begins Friday for Pelicans fans.
Though the NBA draft on June 20 is still a ways away, the first test of the team’s luck comes Friday, when the league’s draft tiebreaker is televised on NBA TV. With a record of 33-49, the Pelicans tied for the seventh-worst record in the NBA this season, thanks to the combination of the Grizzlies’ win Wednesday over the Warriors and the Mavericks’ loss to the Spurs.
Together, New Orleans, Dallas and Memphis will split the odds of the No. 7, No. 8 and No. 9 draft slots to land either the No. 1 pick or a top-four pick, decided by the draft lottery on May 14. But should any two or three of those teams not land one of the top four draft positions determined by the lottery, Friday’s coin flip tiebreaker ceremony will determine the order in which they pick.
The three-way coin flip will be the first for the Pelicans since the then-New Orleans Hornets lost a flip to the Cleveland Cavaliers to decide the 3rd and 4th slots. Despite having just a 13 percent chance, the Pelicans won the draw for the No. 1 pick and went on to select Anthony Davis. New Orleans' good fortune knocked Cleveland back to No. 4 and selected Dion Waiters.
Can't see lottery tracker below? Click here.
The NBA draft lottery is slightly changed for 2019, with identical odds for both the top pick and a top-four pick for the teams with the three worst records in the league. Additionally, the league lowered the winning odds for those bottom three teams. The league hoped those two changes would reduce the incentive for teams to tank with an eye on better draft odds.
In the draft lottery, teams receive a certain percentage of the 1,000 combinations of Ping-Pong balls numbered 1-14 selected from a container. League representatives select four balls from the container for each combination, each of which belongs to a team in the lottery — the higher number of combinations you own, the higher chance you have of landing one of the first four picks. The reps pick four balls to determine the winner of the No. 1 overall pick, and they repeat the process to fill out picks two, three and four.
How did we get here? How did a team that just last season had two All-Stars in its front court (for the first half of the season), made the pl…
From there, the teams are placed in descending order, from the worst record to the best to fill out the rest of the first round. This is where Friday’s tiebreaker process comes in. The Pelicans, Grizzlies and Mavericks each have a 6 percent chance of landing the top pick and a 26.1 percent chance of a top-four pick; if two or three of those teams are not selected in the lottery, Friday’s tiebreaker determines the order in which the leftover teams will draft.
Should the Pelicans win the tiebreaker and land in the seventh slot, they can pick no worse than No. 11 (in a scenario where the winners of the top-four picks all come from teams with better records than them). They could pick as low as 13th if they finish third in the tiebreaker.
Anthony Davis’ choice of uniform Tuesday night, swapping potentially his last chance to wear a Pelicans uniform for one last Looney Tunes-insp…
Here is the order of lottery picks, with ties denoted and the teams’ odds of landing the No. 1 pick and a top-four pick.
1. Knicks (14 percent chance to land No. 1 pick; 52.1 percent chance to land top-four pick)
T2. Suns (14 percent; 52.1 percent)
T2. Cavaliers (14 percent; 52.1 percent)
4. Bulls (12.5 percent; 48.1 percent)
5. Hawks (10.5 percent; 42.1 percent)
6. Wizards (9 percent; 37.2 percent)
T7. Pelicans (6 percent; 26.1 percent)
T7. Mavericks (6 percent; 26.1 percent)
T7. Grizzlies (6 percent; 26.1 percent)
10. Timberwolves (3 percent; 13.9 percent)
11. Lakers (2 percent; 9.4 percent)
T12. Kings (1 percent; 4.8 percent)
T12. Heat (1 percent; 4.8 percent)
T12. Hornets (1 percent; 4.8 percent)
It wasn't the first time Alvin Gentry had said these past 10 weeks were the strangest of his 31-year coaching career.