A tumultuous week was capped for the New Orleans Pelicans at Brooklyn’s Barclay Center when they took Zion Williamson with the number one pick in the NBA Draft 2019.
The Duke University product wept as he stood by his mother’s side after shaking NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s hand in New York.
The 18-year-old becomes the face of the southern side which recently traded former number one pick Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
In an interview after his selection, the Duke product seemingly referred to Davis’ imminent departure, tempering expectations given he is the most hyped college prospect since Davis.
“I’m just going to let (New Orleans fans) know I’m going to give them everything I’ve got,” Williamson told ESPN.
“I’m going to try to turn it around with the help of team-mates because I understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“And I also understand that I’m a rookie and I have a lot to learn,” Williamson said.
“I just need them to know they’re getting a player who’s going to give them everything he’s got.”
The Memphis Grizzlies took Ja Morant with the number two pick.
The 19-year-old point guard will experience a homecoming of sorts when he heads to Tennessee, having attended the nearby Murray State University in Kentucky.
“What’s up Grizzlies fans … I’m ready to get in and come work in Memphis. Grit and grind, baby,” Morant said in a video posted on the Grizzlies’ Twitter page.
Canadian RJ Barrett, who proudly displayed the maple leaf pattern lining on his suit prior to the draft, was taken by the New York Knicks with the number three pick.
The 19-year-old small forward, a proven performer with Williamson at Duke, will carry a huge amount of expectation into Madison Square Garden as the Knicks seek to recover from a disappointing season which saw them finish bottom of the Eastern Conference.