NBA & Atlanta Hawks

Lakers vault No. 4 in NBA draft lottery

The Los Angeles Lakers were one of the big winners in the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday, moving up considerably to land the fourth pick in June's draft.

The Lakers entered with the highest percentage of landing at No. 11, a 2 percent chance of landing the top pick and a 9.4 percent chance of getting in the top four.

The New Orleans Pelicans earned the top pick.

Among those watching the Lakers' jump was Zion Williamson, the Duke forward who is widely expected to become the No. 1 selection and who attended the lottery presentation, which was held at the Hilton Chicago. Duke teammate R.J. Barrett and Murray State point guard Ja Morant also are projected to be early selections.

New York, Cleveland and Phoenix each had the best odds because of a new lottery format that gave the league's three worst teams the same 14 percent chance of landing the top pick. Cleveland fell to fifth, though, and Phoenix sixth.

Memphis will pick second and the Knicks will pick third.

Whereas in past years the team with the worst record owned by far the best odds – 25 percent – to claim the top pick, the NBA tweaked the format to disincentivize "tanking," the practice of losing as much as possible to ensure the greatest draft odds.

Second-year Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma represented the team at the lottery.