Pelicans win No. 1 pick in 2019 NBA Draft - Canadanewsmedia
Connect with us

Sports

Pelicans win No. 1 pick in 2019 NBA Draft

Published

on

David Griffin rarely plays the lottery, unless one of those enormous jackpots is at stake.

Perhaps he should get in those games more. They seem to like him.

For the fourth time since 2011, the team paying him has won the NBA draft lottery — this time, the New Orleans Pelicans, who bucked seriously long odds Tuesday night and now will have the first chance at selecting Duke forward Zion Williamson next month.

And suddenly, the idea of pairing Anthony Davis with Williamson might just become a reality.

“I don’t believe the universe makes mistakes,” Griffin said. “I just think we have something special going on.”

Griffin was with Cleveland when the Cavaliers won the lottery in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Barely a month into his tenure as New Orleans’ executive vice-president of basketball operations, now it’s the Pelicans who have struck lottery gold. They defied the odds to do it; the Pelicans entered with a 6% chance of winning the No. 1 pick for the June 20 draft.

So now, instead of going into a summer where they may have traded Davis — the player New Orleans got when it won the lottery in 2012, the player who was openly disgruntled this season — the Pelicans have a chance at becoming much better, and fast.

“This just jump-starts the process,” Griffin said. “It’ll be harder for me to mess it up than it would have been before this.”

Memphis will choose second, New York third and the Los Angeles Lakers will pick fourth. The Pelicans, Grizzlies and Lakers all moved up to get a top-four spot; New York, Phoenix and Cleveland all entered the night with the best odds of winning the lottery at 14% each, and none of those clubs even got a top-two pick.

The lottery had a new format this year, one that the league hoped would even the playing field in a number of ways and didn’t make all-out tanking a more enticing option to teams looking to maximize their chance at securing the No. 1 pick.

The Knicks, Suns and Cavs didn’t have much interest in winning this season, with none winning more than 19 games. The ping-pong balls apparently weren’t interested in having them win the lottery, either.

“I don’t think you should ever not play to win basketball games,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “I don’t see where it would help you.”

Cleveland will pick fifth, followed by Phoenix, Chicago and Atlanta. Washington has the No. 9 pick, Atlanta goes again at 10 and Minnesota is at No. 11. Charlotte is next up, followed by Miami at 13 and Boston at 14. That pick was conveyed to the Celtics by Sacramento as part of an earlier trade.

The Hawks felt they were big winners, too, after getting two top-10 picks.

“There are always good players,” said Hawks guard Kevin Huerter, the No. 19 pick in last year’s draft and part of Atlanta’s contingent at the lottery. “Every team just has to go out and find them.”

UCF centre Tacko Fall, the 7-foot-6 draft hopeful, played against Williamson in the second round of the NCAA tournament — a 77-76 Duke victory that went down to the very last moment, a game where Williamson scored 32 points. Fall was asked Tuesday who he would take with the No. 1 pick in this draft, and he did not hesitate for even a second before answering.

“Zion,” Fall said. “He’s a once-in-a-generation player. I’d seen him on TV a lot, but when you play against this kid, you just see it. He’s different.”

Murray State’s Ja Morant, projected by many as a strong candidate to be chosen No. 2 overall, was among the players in the audience viewing the proceedings.

“I don’t have any reaction,” Morant said. “I was just excited to be here and be in the position that I’m in and just to see how it all played out. Honestly, I don’t know what number or where I’ll land. Obviously, whatever team drafts me, I’ll be happy to go there and bring it every night.”

Williamson was one of three now-former Duke starters at the lottery — R.J. Barrett and Cam Reddish were among the invited players as well.

Barrett and Reddish don’t know where they’re heading.

Williamson now has a pretty good idea.

Aided by a lucky tie that came from Cavaliers executive Jeff Cohen — the one that Cohen wore for all three of Cleveland’s lottery wins, and one that Griffin insisted he get to use this year — along with an angel pin that belonged to his grandmother and the winning ping-pong ball combination of 7-4-12-13, Griffin is already off to a flying start in New Orleans.

And maybe Davis will be more interested in staying now.

“I don’t think it’ll play into it hugely,” Griffin said. “If he was open-minded to believing that we could build a winner around him, he’s more open-minded to it. … We’re going to build something that we hope everyone wants to be part of and I believed very strongly Anthony’s going to want to be part of that whether we win this or not. I think when you have elite talent, that tends to attract other truly elite talent.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Continue Reading

Sports

Pospisil, Shapovalov engineer Canada historic win over U.S. at Davis Cup

Published

on

By

Canada is heading to the quarter-finals at the inaugural Davis Cup Finals after sweeping a pair of singles matches against the United States on Tuesday.

Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., clinched the victory in the best-of-three tie, beating Taylor Fritz 7-6 (6), 6-3.

Shapovalov, ranked a career-high 15th in the world, finished off No. 32 Fritz with an ace.

Earlier, Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil recorded his second major upset in as many days when the world No. 150 beat No. 36 Reilly Opelka 7-6 (5), 7-6 (7).

Later, Americans Sam Querrey and Jack Sock took the doubles match against Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime in a walkover.

Canada (2-0) has now clinched Group F after winning all four of its singles matches against the Americans and Italy.

Seven of the nine sets in singles matches went to tiebreaks, with Canada winning six of them.

It was Canada’s first win against the U.S., in 16 Davis Cup ties. Canada had a match record of 3-70 against the Americans entering Tuesday.

Vasek Pospisil celebrates his upset victory over Reilly Opelka of the U.S. on Tuesday at the Davis Cup Finals in Spain. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The 29-year-old Pospisil, from Vancouver, beat world No. 12 Fabio Fognini on Monday en route to Canada’s 2-1 win over Italy. Pospisil was a late replacement for Felix Auger-Aliassime (recovering from an ankle injury) against Italy.

The six-foot-11 Opelka, known for his big serve, fought off one match point against Pospisil in the second set to tie it at 6-6. But Pospisil rebounded to end it in two sets.

Pospisil, who reached a career-high No. 25 in the rankings in 2014, tumbled down the list after missing the first half of 2019 following back surgery.

But he has shown signs of progress in recent months, upsetting then-No. 9 Karen Khachanov at the U.S. Open before advancing to the round of 16 at the Shanghai Masters.

Playing a level down in Challengers earlier this fall, Pospisil captured two tournament titles in the U.S.

WATCH | Canada upsets Italy at Davis Cup: 

Denis Shapovalov and Vasek Pospisil notched a pair of upsets to lead Canada to a win over Italy on the opening day of the inaugural Davis Cup Finals. 1:52

Pospisil is now 19-18 in Davis Cup play.

Shapovalov, 20, also has been on a roll. He captured his first career ATP Tour title at the Stockholm Open last month before reaching the final of the Paris Masters.

The winners of each of the six groups and the next two best teams advance to the quarterfinals. Canada will face either Belgium or Australia in the next round.

Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Don Cherry comes back with a new show

Published

on

By

They may have knocked Don Cherry to the ice with a hit he didn’t see coming.

Now watch him get back up.

You people out there who want the 85-year-old Cherry back, here’s the news you have been hoping for.  You people who wanted him to fade away are out of luck as the former NHL coach of the year is going to be able to exercise his free speech, after all.

Don Cherry’s Grapevine is back once again. This time as a podcast.

Coach’s Corner may be “no more” as his one-time Hockey Night in Canada sidekick Ron MacLean announced on Saturday. Cherry was fired by Rogers and Sportsnet for his “you people” who “come here” comment that was misunderstood and later spun as discriminatory.

Cherry wanted his opportunity to properly explain it. Now he is going to get that chance.

You read it right: Don Cherry and his no-holds-barred views are coming back on the air.

The Toronto Sun has learned you won’t have to wait long for the first installment of the new Grapevine. It will drop Tuesday morning and be available on Spotify and other streaming services every Monday during the hockey season.

And yes, the very first one will address Cherry’s firing from Sportsnet.

“But that’s not all we talked about,” Cherry told me Monday. “We are talking hockey, of course. It’s going to be terrific. In this one I am talking about The Rocket (Maurice Richard), one of the all-time greats.”

One thing for sure about the new show is MacLean will not be in his foxhole.

So who will be?

You may have noticed the word “we” in Don’s comments and since so many scrutinize every word he says and what he means by it, I asked.

Turns out Grapes has a new co-host. And perhaps hosts.

“My son, Tim, is going to do it with me and my grandson Del,” said Grapes. 

At least he knows they won’t turn on him when the waters get rough as MacLean did.

“They did great,” Don said of Tim and Del. ”I think people are really going to enjoy this one and the ones we do down the road.”

Tim Cherry tells me the plan is to tape and post it every Monday.

“That way we cover off what happened on the weekend in hockey,” said Tim. “It’s going to be fun.”

For Don’s fans, who are already missing him and unlikely to tune into whatever Sportsnet comes up with to replace the 38-year-old segment, this will give them the opportunity to hear what he has to say. For Don himself, it will connect him with the hockey fans and players he loves while getting back on horse quickly.

It will be in audio broadcast to start with but Tim says it could grow into a TV-style show with cameras and sponsors.

If The Grapevine title sounds familiar it’s because Don’s television show, which Tim produced, was on the air from 1982-93 — filmed in Hamilton.

The new project will feature Don talking about the NHL and hockey and whatever he wants without any censorship.

If he wants to talk about poppies, he can do it without being fired. If he wants to talk about the troops or cops or firefighters or honour the fallen, no one can tell him to keep his nose out of it.

Mostly the plan is to talk hockey. And he won’t have just seven minutes to get it all out.

“The first podcast is about half an hour,” said Tim.

But if they ever find themselves in a position to need more time, or less, the beauty of podcasts is there are no constricting rules.

It also keeps Grapes in game shape while he considers other potential TV offers and opportunities.

Mostly it’s just the perfect outlet for Don Cherry to do what he does best: Be Don Cherry.

Yes Coach’s Corner is over: The new Grapevine has just been planted. Just call this the coach’s comeback! 

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Injuries sideline Habs Drouin, Byron indefinitely

Published

on

By

Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron will be out of the lineup indefinitely as the result of injuries they suffered in Friday night’s win over the Capitals in Washington.

Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron will be out of the lineup indefinitely as the result of injuries they suffered in Friday night’s win over the Capitals in Washington.

Drouin underwent wrist surgery on Monday, and Byron is scheduled to undergo knee surgery on Tuesday.

“We’ll a better idea of a timeline after the surgery,” coach Claude Julien said after the Canadiens practised in preparation for Tuesday’s road game against the Columbus Blue Jackets (7 p.m., TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).

The Canadiens recalled Charles Hudon from Laval. He played Saturday against New Jersey and was sent back to the minors after the game.

Julien said Carey Price will start in goal, and he will wait to decide on a goaltender for Wednesday’s home game against the Ottawa Senators.

phickey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/zababes1

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Source link

Continue Reading

Stay up to date

Subscribe for email updates

Trending