Warriors

NBA Draft Lottery 2019: Pelicans win Zion Williamson draw for No. 1 pick

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AP

NBA Draft Lottery 2019: Pelicans win Zion Williamson draw for No. 1 pick

In all likelihood, Zion Williamson will begin his career in the Big Easy.

That's because the New Orleans Pelicans won Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery. The Duke superstar is expected by many to be the top pick in next month's draft, and the Pelicans will be able to call Williamson's name at the podium June 20 in Brooklyn. New Orleans had the seventh-best odds of the 14 teams in the lottery, with a six percent chance of winning. 

Here are the full results of Tuesday's draft lottery. 

1. New Orleans Pelicans
2. Memphis Grizzlies
3. New York Knicks
4. Los Angeles Lakers
5. Cleveland Cavaliers
6. Phoenix Suns
7. Chicago Bulls
8. Atlanta Hawks
9. Washington Wizards
10. Atlanta Hawks (via Dallas Mavericks)
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
12. Charlotte Hornets
13. Miami Heat
14. Boston Celtics (via Kings)

The Kings would've picked No. 14 overall in this draft, but forfeited their pick after trading former first-round pick Nik Stauskas to the Philadelphia 76ers in order to pursue free agents in the summer of 2015. The 76ers then traded that pick to the Boston Celtics at the 2017 NBA Draft, moving back from the No. 1 spot while Philadelphia moved up to pick former University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz. Both the Kings and Sixers probably are kicking themselves for said trades, as either team would have been able to add a cost-controlled player to their roster ahead of pivotal summers.  

[RELATED: Watch Dell, Sonya flip coin to see who roots for Steph, Seth]

The Knicks won't be able to pick Williamson, and that's good news for the Warriors. Kevin Durant might or might not have his heart set on going to New York this summer -- depending upon who you ask -- but the Knicks' ability to surround Durant with talent just got more difficult. New York still has more salary-cap space than anyone else, but a trade package for disgruntled Pelicans star Anthony Davis won't be as enticing with Williamson already in New Orleans. The Knicks can still easily sign another star with Durant, but their path to NBA Finals contention won't be a straight line. 

The Lakers did not land Williamson, but they will be able to add a young cost-controlled player to their lineup to play with LeBron James. Depending on who they select at No. 4 -- NBC Sports California's James Ham predicts they'll select Jarrett Culver out of Texas Tech -- they might even have a more enticing trade package to land disgruntled Davis in a trade. Whether the Warriors lose Durant or not, a James-Davis combination would pose problems for the reigning champions.

The Kings, meanwhile, would then have yet one more team in a loaded Western Conference to fend off as they try to return to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006. The Lakers' pick is no guarantee that Davis is headed to Hollywood, but the possibility at least has to be considered. 

The worst news for the Warriors and Kings, though, is that they'll play Williamson at least three times a year for the foreseeable future. The Warriors' stranglehold on the Western Conference could loosen if Durant walks in free agency, while the Kings would have another up-and-coming team to contend with as they try to return to the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2006. 

Warriors' Steph Curry continues activism with police brutality protest

Warriors' Steph Curry continues activism with police brutality protest

On the corner of Perkins and Grand in Oakland, Warriors guard Stephen Curry put both of his hands up and spoke a sentence black folks have been chanting for much of their American existence. 

"Hands up!" Curry yelled amongst fellow protestors near Oakland's Lake Merritt. "Don't shoot!"

On the same block, Curry took a knee in protest of police brutality that has crippled Black America. The image was a reminder of the activist Curry has become off the court in recent years.

His latest act came in the wake of George Floyd's tragic death in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd -- a 46-year-old Black male -- died after officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd was detained after allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill and resisting arrest, although nearby security cameras showed he didn't resist. In his final moments, Floyd could be heard screaming, "I can't breathe" and "mama." 

The killing has inspired protests all over the world. Wednesday's protest -- organized by Curry's teammate Juan Toscano Anderson -- drew an estimated 300 people to walk around Lake Merritt. Fellow Warriors Klay Thompson and Damion Lee also attended the protest.

The location of Curry's kneel is noteworthy. Lake Merritt is situated three miles away from North Oakland, where the Black Panther Party was formed. A mile away from the intersection Curry kneeled, the Panthers started the free breakfast program for kids. For much of its history, Oakland has been the country's epicenter for change and Curry was a part of the latest iteration. 

Social causes aren't new for the guard. Last summer, Curry financed the creation of the Howard University golf program. With his contribution, the Bison men's team will play in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, while the women will play as independents. In addition, he outfitted them all in Under Armour apparel -- the shoe company that sponsors him -- and funded three scholarships for the school. 

In 2014, before Game 5 of Golden State's first-round playoff series against the Clippers, Curry was among a group of players ready to boycott if Clippers owner Donald Sterling wasn't banned by NBA commissioner Adam Silver following leaked racist remarks. Three years later, he said President Donald Trump's words were rooted in "racism" after he criticized LeBron James' intelligence in a tweet. Curry even spoke out against Under Armour in 2017, after CEO Kevin Plank called Trump an "asset" to the United States.

“If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people,” Curry told The Mercury News in 2017. “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am. So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

Curry's latest act comes on the same day New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees doubled down on his take that athletes shouldn't kneel during the national anthem. 

[RELATED: Poole: Brees reveals he's part of problem, not solution]

Brees' comments are a common retort for an uninformed person of privilege. Feigning patriotism behind the flag while ignoring why Colin Kaepernick and Curry kneeled in the first place. Disregarding that Kaepernick consulted a green beret before his demonstration and kneeled in respect for the anthem. Brees' stance, like that of many other similar public figures, is lazy, ignorant and dangerous. 

Curry, unlike Brees, will be on the right side of history at his current pace. 

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry among Warriors at Juan Toscano-Anderson's Oakland protest

Steph Curry among Warriors at Juan Toscano-Anderson's Oakland protest

How did Warriors superstar Steph Curry spend his Wednesday afternoon?

He took part in a peaceful protest against police brutality and systemic racism at Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Curry and his wife, Ayesha, kneeled during the protest.

Juan Toscano-Anderson, an Oakland native and Warriors forward, organized the event.

"No matter the color of your skin, where you're from, how much money you got -- it doesn't matter," Toscano-Anderson said to those who gathered. "We're all human beings. We're all here for the same purpose.

"Right now, it's about black people. But for humanity, there's people all over the world being oppressed. We're just trying to take a step in the right direction."

[RELATED: Brees still believes kneeling is 'disrespecting the flag']

Additional members of the Warriors arrived after the walk began.

Protests around the country continue in response to George Floyd's tragic death last week while in police custody in Minneapolis.