No.1 pick Zane Williamson sheds tears at NBA Draft
THE most hyped NBA prospect since LeBron James officially became a New Orleans Pelican today when Zion Williamson was selected at No.1 in the NBA Draft.
Memphis followed that by picking Ja Morant, after trading starting point guard Mike Conley to Utah this week, before Williamson's Duke teammate RJ Barrett landed with the New York Knicks.
The Hawks grabbed De'Andre Hunter after trading up for the fourth pick on a busy morning when several teams made moves to improve their position.
Williamson had tears streaming down his face after being selected by the Pelicans with pick one as he acknowledged his mum, Sharonda, who coached him as a kid.
"I don't know what to say," Williamson said.
"I didn't think I'd be in this position. My mum sacrificed a lot for me. I wouldn't be here without my mum.
"I just want to thank her ... she put her dreams aside for mine, always looked out for her friends and family before herself."
He had a two-word message for Pelicans fans: "Let's dance".
Williamson will step into an open position in New Orleans, which recently agreed to trade All-Star Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Memphis Grizzlies also quickly addressed a positional need by taking Murray State's Morant with the No.2 pick. The Grizzlies agreed to trade Mike Conley, their longtime point guard, to Utah a day earlier.
They got a good replacement in Morant, who led Division I with 10 assists per game as a sophomore while averaging 24.5 points.
RJ Barrett then made it two Duke freshmen within the top-three picks when the New York Knicks took the guard who actually edged out Williamson to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring.
Knicks fans hoped they would get Williamson after finishing with the worst record in the league but seemed happy to end up with Barrett, loudly cheering and chanting "RJ! RJ!" when the pick was announced.
De'Andre Hunter of national champion Virginia was taken fourth but won't be teaming up with Williamson. The Pelicans acquired the rights to the pick in the Davis deal but agreed to trade it shortly before the draft to Atlanta. The original trade can't be official until July 6, so Hunter was outfitted with a Lakers hat and the draft board behind the stage listed the pick as belonging to the Lakers.
The Cleveland Cavaliers then took Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland, who played in just five games because of a knee injury.
2019 NBA DRAFT (ONGOING)
First round: 1. Zion Williamson (New Orleans), 2. Ja Morant (Memphis), 3. RJ Barrett (New York), 4. DeAndre Hunter (Atlanta), 5. Darius Garland (Cleveland), 6. Jarrett Culver (Minnesota), 7. Coby White (Chicago), 8. Jaxson Hayes (New Orleans), 9. Rui Hachimura (Washington), 10. Cam Reddish (Atlanta), 11. Phoenix (from Minnesota), 12. Charlotte, 13. Miami, 14. Boston (from Sacramento via Philadelphia), 15. Detroit, 16. Orlando, 17. New Orleans (from Atlanta from Brooklyn), 18. Indiana, 19. San Antonio, 20. Boston (from LA Clippers via Memphis), 21. Oklahoma City, 22. Boston, 23. Memphis (from Utah), 24. Philadelphia, 25. Portland, 26. Cleveland (from Houston), 27. Brooklyn (from Denver), 28. Golden State, 29. San Antonio (from Toronto), 30. Detroit (from Milwaukee)
Live stream the 2019 NBA Draft with ESPN on KAYO SPORTS on your mobile, laptop or TV. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly