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Future of the NBA: 2019 Draft Betting Odds
May 14, 2019 will forever be known in NBA lore as the day the Zion Williamson sweepstakes! Despite longshot NBA draft lottery odds, New Orleans ended up with the winning ticket. Let's have a quick look at the NBA draft first pick odds:
- Zion Williamson -1000
- Zion Williamson not to go first +500
The rest of the NBA Draft pecking order shook out with these franchises in the top-5 (in order):
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Memphis Grizzlies
- New York Knicks
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Cleveland Cavaliers
So now what? Well, brace yourself because the league will shift in front of our very eyes from now until then. More on that shortly:
How to Watch the 2019 NBA Draft
First things first, here's how you can witness history. The Draft is Thursday, June 20 and takes place at the usual Barclays Arena (the seventh straight time it's been hosted there) in Brooklyn, New York. Start time is 8:30 pm EST with ESPN providing the broadcast. For the cord-cutters, a stream will also be available on ESPN+ service.
Is Zion At No. 1 A Sure Bet?
In betting, there's almost no such things as a sure bet. However, this is one of those rare exceptions and the NBA draft odds reflect that. Zion is a resounding -1000 to be picked first overall. For those that like going against the grain, he's +500 to NOT go first.
Grab whatever disposable money you have and throw it on those -1000 odds — seriously. Williamson is a transcendental athlete in the likes of LeBron James and he's worth every dollar you have, as well as whatever Nike or adidas decides to throw at him for a shoe deal (our guess is $80 million, this without playing a single NBA game).
A must-see attraction like Zion is exactly what New Orleans needs. He's the replacement to its other generational talent, Anthony Davis, who is on the way out (more on that shortly).
There's no telling whether Zion can become a top-5 talent like Davis is right now, but he's surely a bigger box-office attraction. At 3.3 million Instagram followers, he's an instant boost to a franchise playing in the smallest media market league-wide.
Possible Draft-Day Trade Implications
Akin to Zion at No. 1, Ja Morant at No. 2 to the Grizzlies is a virtual lock. Memphis, the NBA's second-smallest media market, needs a star of its own and Morant fits the bill. He's a player you build your franchise around for the next five years (sorry, Mike Conley, you're the odd one out in this scenario).
Conley is just one of many superstar players swirled in trade talks at the moment. But no player has more chatter than the aforementioned Davis. These rumors are what makes the No. 3 overall selection such a crapshoot.
At the moment, the Knicks are entrenched at the pick. Most pundits have RJ Barrett going to New York. But the bigger question is will the Knicks even stay put to draft Barrett, Zion's old running mate at Duke?
We certainly know New York is interested in Davis. But while interest is one thing, having the pieces to actually get him is another thing.
Outside the third pick, the Knicks cupboard is bare. Don't let anyone fool you, New Orleans isn't dealing an all-time talent like Davis for RJ Barrett, Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, and whatever other scraps the Knicks have.
Ultimately, the Celtics and Lakers have significantly better assets for a Davis aquisition. Los Angeles has one pick down at four, plus a have-your-pick package of Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart.
Boston, perhaps in desperation mode to replace or entice Kyrie Irving to stick around, also have draft capital over the coming years, plus Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and "Scary" Terry Rozier.
So if you find any sort of odds for the Knicks to stay at three and draft Barrett, take it. New York is better equipped for a free-agent run at Irving, Kevin Durant, or Kemba Walker than landing a star via trade. Of course, Irving and Walker play the same position as Barrett, so there's a chance they deal Barrett after the fact. But with free agency weeks after the draft, Barrett is the safe pick for you and New York alike.
Chaos Should Continue at No. 4
"Desperate times call for desperate measures" — Jeannie Bus and Rob Pelinka (probably).
No, but seriously, there's not a bigger clown show in the NBA right now than the Lakers franchise. No need to rehash the organizational gossip that's overshadowed the NBA playoffs, but just know, Los Angeles — or LeBron James for that matter — doesn't have time to wait for a 19-year-old draftee to blossom into a great player. They are in win-now mode.
We'll use Lakers and James interchangeably here because everyone knows James and his inner circle carry a big stick in La La Land. James has a long history of sacrificing the future for the now. He did so in Cleveland and Miami, why not expect the same in LA? Especially at almost 35 years old?
We just can't imagine any sort of scenario where the Lakers stay put at four. Not only for the reason above, but most pundits agree that this NBA Draft is a three-player draft.
Cam Reddish at four isn't going to turn the Lakers fortunes around. Hold off on any betting picks on the fourth overall pick until the very last moment, once we know who is actually picking then (hint, not the Lakers).
Find more NBA Draft betting odds at one of our trusted sportsbooks below!
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