When the way the pingpong balls bounced is revealed to the world Tuesday night (NBA draft lottery, ESPN, 8:30 ET), the immediate focus will be on who gets the No. 1 pick — and with it the chance to select consensus top prospect Zion Williamson. But how this NBA draft lottery shakes out will have far-ranging implications across the league well beyond whichever team gets the chance to choose Williamson.
For the first time, the top four spots will be determined by the lottery, rather than the top three. That additional factor, plus potential trade scenarios, have juiced the stakes.
Here’s a look at what tonight’s festivities will mean for all involved — no matter where they wind up landing.
Knicks fans have been waiting more than 30 years to win the lottery again after the team secured the chance to take Patrick Ewing in 1985. They would love the ability to have Williamson. But if the Knicks do win the lottery, an immediate question will follow: Will Williamson ever even play in New York?
After trading Kristaps Porzingis at the trade deadline, the Knicks have enough cap space to sign two max players in free agency. They also own multiple future first-round picks from the Dallas Mavericks. Winning the lottery would give the Knicks the best possible trade chip to go nab New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.