The NBA draft lottery on Tuesday produced a somewhat surprising result when the New Orleans Pelicans charged a six percent chance and outperformed the six teams with the best chances of claiming the best pick, and is expected to be universally the superstar. by Duke Zion Williamson.
Among those who were surprised by the turn of events could have been Williamson himself, and it was not long before the informed speculation turned into the possibility that he could hamper the start of his NBA career in New Orleans. The 18-year-old sensation has some options, like playing another season for the Blue Devils.
On ESPN's "The Jump" Wednesday, Brian Windhorst said Williamson has not yet hired an agent or, more importantly, signed a shoe purchase agreement. That keeps your college eligibility intact, as long as you draw your name from the draft of consideration before June 10, the deadline for the withdrawal of the participant that begins 10 days before the draft.
Windhorst said the issue of Williamson's possible unhappiness with the Pelicans, especially after seeing the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers being close to the first election, has been "blowing up my phone since last night."
After suggesting that Williamson "could threaten to return to Duke," Windhorst said, "Now, is that the kind of person Zion is? People I know who know him say no, this is not what he is. " Windhorst then added that "it is a conversation that is happening in the NBA at this time."
That conversation may have been fueled by Tuesday's tweet from ESPN's Marc J. Spears just after New Orleans won the lottery. Quoting a source who claimed that Williamson "was encouraging to go to New York", Spears tweeted that the AP Player of the Year in college basketball "was removed QUICKLY from the courtroom after the pelicans were announced the winner of the lottery draw."
The images reached the instant reaction of Williamson's Internet to the results of the lottery, and his reaction of open and smiling eyes allowed a variety of interpretations. Was that a smile on his face, or rather a grimace?
"The Jump" host, Rachel Nichols, also anchored live coverage of the ESPN lottery results and said Tuesday night that when Williamson learned that the pelicans won the first election, it appeared to have been hit by a truck. " She said that "when she woke up this morning, New Orleans was not what she was thinking," but added that "once she regains her mentality," Williamson would take a more optimistic view of things.
In "The Jump," panelist Richard Jefferson mentioned Steve Francis, the Maryland star who waited until he was drafted in second place in 1999 by the Grizzlies before making it clear that he had no desire to play for that team, then located in Vancouver. The Grizzlies traded him for the Houston Rockets before his rookie season began.
Dominique Wilkins made a similar move in 1982 after being drafted third by the Utah Jazz, and ended up being treated with the Atlanta Hawks. For Williamson, as the alleged No. 1 pick, to inform the Pelicans before the draft that he did not want part of them to be more unusual, but it has some precedent in other sports.
The NFL saw a pair of highly promoted quarterbacks, John Elway in 1983 and Eli Manning in 2004, who made clear their aversions to teams with No. 1 picks. In both cases, however, they were still recruited by those equipment before being swapped quickly.
In 1991, Eric Lindros of the NHL was also recruited as No. 1 by a team he warned, the Quebec Nordiques, who initially refused to trade him. He spent a season playing with his junior hockey club and with the Canadian national team at the 1992 Olympics before being sent to the Philadelphia Flyers.
FS1 Colin Cowherd He cited those examples on Wednesday when he said that Williamson should tell the pelicans: "I'm eliminating my name from the draft, so change it." Cowherd suggested that if New Orleans did not comply, Williamson could wait to become the first choice. in 2020 and, meanwhile, ask if the US Team coach. UU., Gregg Popovich, had some interest in adding him to that team.
Cowherd added that returning to Duke would amount to a "step back" inadvisable to Williamson, but he thought the chances of playing abroad or simply "working for a year" were plausible. The option abroad was used in 1989 by another Duke star, Danny Ferry, who was not happy to be selected in second place by the Los Angeles Clippers. Ferry spent what would have been his rookie season playing in Italy, during which time he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Possibly going back to Duke, Williamson would be making a very bold move that would cost him millions in the short term. As it was, he escaped a great shock during his only season with the Blue Devils, when a knee injury suffered after slipping on the court turned out to be much less serious than initially feared.
Some thought that Williamson should have paid attention to the warning that the injury represented and never played for Duke again, but said he was eager to meet with his teammates for an NCAA tournament. Two of his closest companions, first-year star stars RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, are also ready to become professionals, so they would not be around if Williamson returned.
For that and other reasons, it seems very unlikely that Williamson will return to Duke. However, like the New York Times & # 39; Marc Stein He said Wednesday, leaving open the option of doing so could give him leverage with the pelicans.
The Pelicans are already engaged in a kind of carelessness with the discontent of all the stars, Anthony Davis, who reportedly hope they can be convinced to rescind their commercial demand due to the tempting prospect of playing alongside Williamson. It is also possible that Williamson follows the example of Davis' unhappiness in New Orleans and decides that he would also prefer to be somewhere else.
That dynamic could be good news for the Knicks, who had the worst record in the NBA and were crushed to fall to third place in the draft, but could end up with a crucial asset in a possible trade for Davis. If, as many of the simulated erasers already predict, New York selects Barrett, he could hang Williamson's close friend of the pelicans as the key to helping his precious rookie feel better about his Big Easy situation.
No matter what happens to Williamson, Davis' fate has been and will remain a hot topic until an extension is exchanged or signed with the pelicans, and his arrival at the first selection only adds to the intrigue. That could have been the most surprising result of the lottery: he immediately made the Pelicans the most fascinating team in the league.
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