Dell Demps (or will it be John Hammond?) now know the odds they will hold going into the NBA Draft Lottery on May 17th. A Pelicans loss to the Chicago Bulls last night combined with a Minnesota Timberwolves loss to the Houston Rockets has locked New Orleans into the sixth slot in the Draft Lottery. The Pelicans will hold 63 lottery combinations (of 1,000 used combinations) on May 17th.
We can all stop rooting for losses. #TankFlight is dead. Long live #TankFlight.
The lottery only selects the first three picks. After that the remaining teams are placed in order of their pre-lottery position. If the first three picks are selected from the top five teams the Pelicans will select 6th overall. If one team ranked 7th or lower moves up and the Pelicans do not they will pick 7th. 63 combinations gives the Pelicans a 21.5% chance of vaulting into the top three picks in the draft but thanks to teams 7-14 they also have a 34.6% chance of moved back from 6th. Here are the complete odds by selection.
New Orleans could still gain ground with their second round picks. The Pelicans will hold Sacramento and Denver's second round selections. Both are currently in a three-way tie with Milwaukee. Should the Bucks defeat the Indiana Pacers (unlikely) while the Kings and Nuggets lose New Orleans would hold the 38th and 39th picks in the second round. Regardless of results the Pelicans will have two picks slotted between 37th and 40th; a Knicks victory over the Pacers tonight (even less likely) will help.
The most recent mock draft from DraftExpress has Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield available at six. I suspect, if Demps remains the General Manager, that the Pelicans will attempt to trade the pick for an established NBA player. If that gambit fails (please let it fail) Buddy Hield is the favorite in my eyes thanks to his maturity and the expectation among some that he can contribute right away. I'm not sure that is the correct decision and love the upside of Murray. However, I really like Hield too so I won't be heartbroken if New Orleans goes that direction.
Let's all cross our fingers and hope the odds are in the Pelicans favor on May 17th though. Keeping Ben Simmons in state sounds good to me.