Knicks On Alert As Expected No. 1 Pick Zion Williamson Declares For NBA Draft

April 15, 2019 - 6:42 pm
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By WFAN.com

After one year of college basketball, Zion Williamson is dropping out and heading to the NBA.

Willliamson has been touted for years as the likely No. 1 pick in this June's NBA Draft, and thus, it was always expected that he would leave Duke after his freshman season. On Monday, he made that expectation official as he announced his decision on Instagram. 

--Thank you Duke--#thebrotherhood

A post shared by Zion Williamson (@zionlw10) on

Williamson had remained tight-lipped about his future throughout Duke's season. The Blue Devils were expected to compete for a title, but were ultimately eliminated from the NCAA Tournament when they lost 68-67 to Michigan State in the Elite Eight.

The 18-year-old only increased his draft stock by dominating college basketball throughout the season. In the ACC, he won both the Rookie of the Year and the Player of the Year awards. He was also named Player of the Year by the Associated Press and various other publications.

Tanking NBA teams, including the Knicks, have been eagerly watching Williamson, while also hoping that their struggles would land them a shot at picking him. The Knicks finished with the worst record in the league, but newly-enacted NBA draft lottery reform means that New York will still have the same chance (14%) as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns at winning the top pick. 

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Zion Williamson
USA TODAY images

It's tough to envision a scenario where the team that wins the lottery doesn't draft Williamson, unless a trade of some sort is involved. The Knicks certainly see him as the type of player who can revitalize their franchise. Winning the rights to draft Williamson could also help New York land a big free agent this offseason. 

Thus, this year's draft lottery is shaping up to be one of the most important lotteries in league history. The Knicks last won the draft lottery in 1985, the first year it was introduced. They used that pick on Patrick Ewing, who would go on to become an NBA Hall of Famer. Ewing will represent the team at this year's draw. 

The Knicks, and the rest of the league's worst teams, will learn their lottery fate on May 14, just under a month from today.