NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02: Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots over Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks in the second half in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
The most important night in the history of the Charlotte Bobcats is almost upon us. If all goes according to plan, it will set the franchise up for another most important night in its history and one that could change the course of the organization at June's NBA Draft. Wednesday night's NBA Draft Lottery presents one lucky team the chance to draft Kentucky big man Anthony Davis with the number one overall pick. Davis is the sure-fire top selection this year and has separated himself from the other players in a rather talented class. We know Davis is the top choice, and that's about all we know.
The Bobcats, as a result of a league worst seven wins this past season, have the best shot at securing that overall pick. That doesn't guarantee anything of course. Charlotte has just a 25% chance to win the lottery. Better odds than anyone else, but still a 75% chance that the Bobcats will not be able to grab that top pick.
The last time a team with the best chance at the top pick actually got it was in 2004 when the Orlando Magic picked Dwight Howard. The Bobcats in their brief NBA existence have never won the lottery. The lottery, she is fickle. There is no rhyme or reason (supposedly) to what transpires and there are many that think the Bobcats got worse on purpose (yeah-huh, and...?) and that the league shouldn't reward such tanking. But that argument must be saved for another day and for someone who cares to debate the merits or lack thereof of the current system. It's what we have.
The good news is the Bobcats are guaranteed to pick no worse than fourth. The team's odds for landing top picks looks like this:
First pick - 25%
Second pick - 21.47%
Third pick - 17.7%
The actual lottery itself is done by assigning each team certain four-digit combinations. As the team with the worst record Charlotte is given the most combinations, 250, and the Houston Rockets will only have five for having the best record of all lottery teams. All other teams will have combinations in between; there are a total of 1,000 possible combinations available. Ping-Pong balls are then numbered 1-14, and four are drawn to determine what team will pick first, second, and third. The team that his assigned the first combination drawn will receive the first pick. The process is then repeated for picks two and three. Picks 4-14 are then determined based on inverse order of the remaining teams' regular season record.
Once the order is determined, each team's logo card is placed into an envelope and those are then opened live on television to reveal the results to the word, or at least the basketball world. What Bobcat fans want to watch for during this envelope process is any changes in the order of teams being revealed. Starting at Houston at 14, if any team is not in its slot based on record it indicates a jump into the top three and thus a shakeup in the draft order. Charlotte does not want any shakeups. We know we won't see Charlotte's logo until at least four, but if there are any crazy jumps that just takes a up a slot in the top three.
General Manager Rich Cho (yeah, it's still not Michael Jordan) and Vice Chairman Curtis Polk will represent the team in New York. We all knew MJ probably wasn't going to show for this. Is it imperative that he represents his team at this ceremony? Of course not. Would it have been nice? Sure. But it won't change the way the Ping-Pong balls bounce...I don't think. However I would like to see him run out on stage if they win and jump up on the desk like he did at the United Center after a Bulls championship.
The Bobcats need this, they really need this. If they get it, there will be those that continue to chastise them, the league, and the way this pick was awarded. If they don't get it there will be those that will chastise them, the league and the way the pick was awarded. None of that really matters. All that matters for this franchise is getting Davis.
Should the mathematics take a horrible turn for the worse and Charlotte not land the top pick, well there will be some decisions to be made. We'll dive into the different options the Bobcats have at that time, let's hope for all of our sakes we don't have to.
There are other players in the draft that will no doubt help teams immensely. There are players in this draft that might even help the Bobcats immensely, but the team and fan base could use a win. After celebrating only seven times during the season this eighth win would be the sweetest of all, until win number nine in June.