Tuesday night promises to be a potentially monumental evening in the NBA. No, it’s not because of what’s going to happen on the hardwood, although we will get to see Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers. But before the game tips off, the focus of the basketball-watching world will be on what happens with some ping pong balls.
The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery will take place on Tuesday, with teams hoping to secure the No. 1 selection and put themselves in a position to acquire the crown jewel of the upcoming Draft, Duke forward Zion Williamson. It’s the first shoe dropping in what is shaping up to be one of the most impactful summers in NBA history, the magnitude of which Rachel Nichols of ESPN appreciates.
“This is the tectonic plate that’s gonna start the earthquake in the NBA,” Nichols told Dime over the phone. “Someone’s gonna get Zion, whether they keep him and he changes their franchise forever, or they decide to trade him and pull off, if they do, one of the largest trades that we’ve seen in the league in the last decade or two. That’s huge. And whichever team gets him will likely effect which free agents decide to go where. This is going to be such an earthquake summer and the first tremor we’re gonna get is which team gets the rights to Zion Williamson.”
Nichols will be on-site in Chicago for this year’s Draft Lottery, but she’s doing more than being part of the event’s telecast for the Worldwide Leader. The Jump, the Emmy-nominated show hosted by Nichols, will kick things off at 8 p.m. and feature a live interview with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, followed by the Lottery and Game 1 between the Dubs and the Blazers. Before any of that happens, Nichols sat down with Dime to discuss the evening’s festivities, The Jump‘s impressive list of daily guests, and where the show is now compared to when it began three years ago.