David Griffin had to convince his former colleague Jeff Cohen to give up the tie.
Luck was on the Pelicans’ side
The Pelicans defied the odds to win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, and New Orleans GM David Griffin did everything in his power to make sure it happened.
Griffin, freshly hired by New Orleans to oversee the franchise’s rebuild, brought with him not one but two good luck totems. And the Pels needed it. They only had a 6% chance of getting the first pick and a 37.2% chance of landing at No. 8.
The team even commissioned an official lucky charm contest for fans, which was won by a lady named Connie.
That's what I am talking about, Connie!- Let's do this! We won the lottery in Cleveland in 2014 with my grandmother's pin as, "the angel on my shoulder." Divine intervention from your angel is meant to be! Thank you for entrusting us with it! #LotteryLove #BirdStrikes https://t.co/W53WEIG7lF— David Griffin (@dg_riff) May 14, 2019
But the real good luck charm was the tie being worn by head coach Alvin Gentry. It belongs to former Cavaliers executive Jeff Cohen and he wore it the last three times Cleveland won the lottery, in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Griffin called Cohen to ask him if he could borrow the tie but Cohen tried to downplay its mystical properties. Griffin was unmoved, though, and still wanted it anyway. Cohen, presumably happy to help out another guy who was screwed by Dan Gilbert, obliged.
But the tie should come with a word of caution. One of the times the tie granted Cleveland the first pick, the team (with Griffin as the second-most powerful man in the front office) selected Anthony Bennett. The tie grants good fortune, but it’s up to the people in charge to make the right decision. Luckily for Griffin, the decision this year is a no-brainer.
Only for the Knicks is getting the No. 3 pick a failure
The NBA draft lottery was suprisingly entertaining television, with the Suns and Bulls getting screwed. The Knicks had the worst record in the NBA but thanks to the flattened odds at the top of the lottery only ended up with the third pick.
The Knicks only had a 14% chance of getting the first pick and a 48% chance of getting the fifth pick, so No. 3 isn’t a bad result. But still, it was a crushing defeat for Knicks fans, who had convinced themselves they were about to get Zion Williamson. The scene played out all over New York much like it did in the SI office:
It sounds like Zion himself had a similar reaciton.
Zion Williamson was QUICKLY whisked out of the room after Pelicans were announced the winner of the draft lottery. Source said the former Duke star was rooting to go to New York, but now is going to New Orleans.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) May 15, 2019
Here’s how the New York tabloids reacted to the news.
Wednesday's @NewsdaySports cover— Gregg Henglein (@GreggHenglein) May 15, 2019
LUCKLESS#Knicks land third pick, which won't get them Zion @StevePopper @meanbarb #NBADraftLottery
Syndergaard, Ramos lead #Mets past Nationals@timbhealey @DPLennon #LGM
Tiger the target again at PGA@markpherrmann @GregLogan1 pic.twitter.com/1LWfdhI7CI
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For those asking, it’s a rice cake with cheddar cheese, banana, veggie burger and mustard.— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 14, 2019
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A good song
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