The New Orleans Hornets came into the NBA Draft lottery with the fourth best odds to win it. They left with the top pick in the upcoming NBA draft, which will undoubtedly be used to draft Anthony Davis.
The Hornets have the top pick, yes; but it does not arrive in NOLA without some controversy and conspiracy theories.
Anthony Davis to New Orleans, not Charlotte
New Orleans is still owned by the NBA, but it is in the process of being transferred to Tom Benson, who also owns the Saints.
Being owned by the league essentially gives David Stern a stake in the team, and he is the very man who vetoed the Chris Paul trade to Los Angeles. This ended up benefiting the city of L.A. as Paul joined the Clippers, and a commissioner vetoing a trade is basically unheard of in pro sports.
At season’s end the Hornets had the worst record in the West, but they had a better record than the Wizards and Bobcats and the same record as the Cavaliers. They ended up with the fourth best odds after losing a coin-flip to the Cavs.
The lead-up to the lottery was focused around what team would land Anthony Davis. He is the unanimous choice as the top pick in the draft, and whatever team was to get him would receive a franchise player.
The team who needed him the most was the Charlotte Bobcats. They only won 7 games during this past season, and they are in desperate need of someone to come in and change the culture. Davis would do just that, but the Bobcats had to wait until the lottery to find out if they would even be given the chance to draft him.
When it came down to the last three teams in the lottery, the Bobcats, Wizards, and Hornets were left. The Wizards took the third pick, and it came down to the teams with the worst records in their respective conferences.
The second pick went to the Bobcats, which gave the top pick to the NBA-owned Hornets. Do I hear conspiracy theory?
I myself am not one for conspiracy theories in sports, but the lottery in and of itself is quite a sketchy process. The lottery drawings are done behind closed doors, and who is to say that it cannot be fixed? I am not saying it is fixed, but it would be easy for it to be done.
All conspiracy theories aside, it is an absolute shame that the Bobcats did not get the top pick in the draft in order to get Davis. They only had four players average in double digits for points, with Gerald Henderson leading the team with 15.1 points per game.
Thirteen different players started a game for Charlotte, and they were just simply a bad team. An awful team. They were not tanking to try and have the worst record; they just lacked the talent to compete on a nightly basis.
Draft Lottery a Negative for NBA
The lottery was instituted to prevent teams from losing games on purpose in order to acquire a franchise-changing player in the draft. The point of a draft is to make the bad teams better, and improve the competitive balance in the league. The lottery often prevents that from happening, as teams who are not all that bad can draft top-level players, while the awful teams may miss out on a player who will actually make a difference.
The NBA needs to join the NFL and MLB and eliminate their lottery. An NFL team could tank if they really wanted to do so, so why should the NBA treat it as some taboo happening. If a team really wants to tank for a player then let them do so. Teams already tend to give up at the end of the season if they have a bad record, so it is not like it doesn’t happen even with the lottery in place.
The lottery will likely remain in place for years to come, and teams like the Bobcats who need a player to change the losing culture will miss out the chance to actually improve.