After Winning the Draft Lottery, Pelicans See 2020 NBA Title Odds Sharply Improve

Posted on: May 16, 2019, 02:14h. 

Last updated on: May 16, 2019, 02:14h.

After winning Tuesday night’s NBA Draft Lottery, the New Orleans Pelicans saw their title odds for the 2019-20 season drop big time.

Duke freshman Zion Williamson is the heavy favorite to be the top pick in next month’s NBA Draft. New Orleans won the pick earlier this week and saw its title drop from 300-1 to 25-1 at the SuperBook. (Image: Duke Athletics)

The Pelicans, one of 14 teams that had a chance to land the top pick in the draft, had just a 6 percent chance of winning it. But now, they’re in a position to take Duke phenom Zion Williamson when the league hosts its draft on June 20.

Winning the lottery also adds another wrinkle to what had promised to be an interesting offseason already for New Orleans. They missed the playoffs this season as NBA All-Star Anthony Davis infamously requested a trade just before the league’s trading deadline, a move the team declined.

Davis averaged 25.9 points and 12 rebounds a game this past season and stands to be one of the most coveted free agents in recent memory next summer. Rumors have swirled about the Los Angeles Lakers interest in the former University of Kentucky big man, but it’s possible other teams could make an offer for Davis, who would command significant players or draft picks in return.

It’s also possible the Pelicans could ride a frontcourt tandem of Davis and Williamson for at least a one-time run at a title, with the possibility of re-signing him later.

If you look at the totality of where this organization is and where we’re going, we feel very strongly that we’re building an environment he wants to be a part of,” David Griffin, New Orleans executive vice president for basketball operations, told

With those possibilities in mind, the Westgate SuperBook dropped the Pelicans title odds for next season from 300-1 before the lottery to now 25-1. Caesars sportsbook on Thursday listed them at 40-1, putting the Pelicans in the middle of the pack among all NBA teams.

Lakers Have Possibilities

The Lakers, who also were in the lottery, ended up netting the fourth pick for next month’s draft. They could use that pick to land a promising young player to develop around LeBron James, or they could use it in a package with other players and picks to offer the Pelicans for Davis.

Regardless, Caesars’ futures odds for next season list the Lakers at 20-1, tied for the ninth-best odds with Denver. Impressive odds for a team that missed the playoffs this season, and an indication that handicappers expect the Lakers to be active in the trade and free agency markets this summer.

This summer’s free agent market could find teams vying for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, both of whom could opt out of their current contracts once the season ends. Kawhi Leonard also will be certain to attract interest.

Bullish on Knicks

Potential free agent signings are also what’s fueling low odds for the New York Knicks next season. New York last made the playoffs in 2012-13, and the Knicks have reached the postseason just three times since 2004-05, but Caesars currently lists them at 12-1 thanks to speculation that Durant, a candidate for MVP this season, is likely headed there this summer.

Caesars’ oddsmakers gave the Knicks the third-lowest odds on the board, along with the Houston Rockets and Losa Angeles Clippers.

The Knicks made a series of moves this past season to free up the salary cap room needed to land at least one big free agent. In addition, they also won the third pick in the draft.

Caesars currently lists Golden State the 2-1 favorite for next season’s title, with Milwaukee at 4-1. Those two teams are likely to face each other when this year’s NBA Finals begin on May 30.