Let the conspiracy theorists begin.
The New Orleans Hornets, who recently went from being run by the NBA to sold to Saints owner Tom Benson, won Thursday night’s NBA Draft Lottery and the right to choose first on the June 28 draft.
Cynics will argue that this was a favor, a set up, just as many did and still do believe the first lottery in 1985 was rigged so the New York Knicks could get the rights to draft Patrick Ewing. The city of New Orleans is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina and ownership so shabby that the league took over its operations (and rescinded a Chris Paul-to-Los Angeles Lakers trade).
Whatever the case, the Hornets, who eventually dealt Paul to the L.A. Clippers, have the opportunity to select Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, the consensus top pick, with the No. 1 choice, if it keeps the pick.
New Orleans had a 13.7 percent chance to earn the pick, based on its record this season. The Charlotte Bobcats, owned by Michael Jordan, had the worst season in NBA history and had the highest odds of winning the first selection. The Bobcats came in second, however, with the Washington Wizards third. Cleveland fell one spot to fourth. Here is the remaining order of selections from the lottery:
5. Sacramento Kings
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Brooklyn Nets)
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Toronto Raptors
9. Detroit Pistons
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota Timberwolves)
11. Portland Trail Blazers
12. Milwaukee Bucks
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets