Thanks to the New Orleans Pelicans, the New York Knicks moved one spot up in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Pelicans beat the depleted Los Angeles Clippers, 105-101, to sneak into the playoffs as the Western Conference’s eighth seed. Friday night’s result gave the Knicks the 11th best odds in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The Knicks appeared headed into the lottery with the 12th best odds when the Clippers erected a 13-point lead in the second half. But the Pelicans, behind Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance, and rookie Trey Murphy made a scintillating fourth-quarter run to send their franchise to a surprising playoff run even without their top star Zion Williamson.
Now, the Knicks have a 9.4 percent chance (from 7.1 percent) to land in the top four and 2.0 percent odds (from 1.5 percent) to hit the No. 1 overall pick.
Over the last four NBA Draft Lottery, only once did the 11th-ranked team move up from that spot.
In 2019, the Lakers jumped from No. 11 to No. 4 (De’Andre Hunter), part of the Pelican’s haul from the Anthony Davis blockbuster trade. In the previous year, the Charlotte Hornets remained at no. 11 and drafted Shai-Gilgeous Alexander. Alexander was quickly traded to the Clippers for the 12th overall pick (Miles Bridges) and two future second-round picks. In 2020, the San Antonio Spurs also didn’t move from 11th and used it to pick Devin Vassell. Last year, the Hornets got stuck again at 11th and selected James Bouknight.
With nine players aged 24 and under already on the Knicks’ roster, there’s a good chance they would use this year’s lottery pick as a trade chip unless they hit the jackpot.
This year’s NBA Draft is top-heavy, with Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Auburn’s Jabari Smith, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, and Purdue’s Jaden Ivey all having a strong case to be the top overall pick.
The NBA Draft Lottery will take place on May 17 in Chicago.
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