May 30, 2012, 8:33 PM EDT
Tom Benson is a good luck charm for New Orleans.
He is in the process of buying the struggling Hornets franchise to keep the NBA’s smallest market from losing its team — now the biggest star to come out of college in years is headed there.
The New Orleans Hornets have won the NBA Draft Lottery. Which means they will be drafting Kentucky’s Anthony Davis, the consensus No. 1 pick many scouts think could have a Kevin Garnet-like career. He is a franchise changing pick. He led Kentucky to a national championship — won in the Superdome in New Orleans.
“New Orleans right now needs a lot of help but we’re getting better every day,” Benson said on the broadcast. “Between the Saints and the Hornets, wow, no telling what’s going to happen.”
The Hornets had been run into the ground by former owner George Shin, the NBA itself had to buy the team and run it for a year, and the Hornets were forced to deal Chris Paul before the season (or lose him after it for nothing to free agency).
The fact the league owns New Orleans will spawn 1,000 new conspiracy theories on how the lottery is rigged. I’ll just say this — if it was rigged the biggest star to come out of college in years would not be headed to the league’s smallest market.
The Horents have some nice young pieces, led by guard Eric Gordon, and new coach Monty Williams turned them into a team that played hard. Now they just got really interesting.
The Hornets had a 13.7 percent chance of winning the lottery, and their move up the board was the only shake up in the draft order. The rest of the draft stayed to form.
1. New Orleans
2. Charlotte Bobcats
3. Washington Wizards
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Sacramento Kings
6. Portland Trail Blazers (via Nets)
7. Golden State Warriors
8. Toronto Raptors
9. Detroit Pistons
10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota)
11. Portland Trail Blazers
12. Milwaukee Bucks
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
A few quick notes:
• New Jersey’s pick, the sixth overall, goes to Portland as part of the Gerald Wallace trade. Wallace is a free agent, if the Nets don’t resign him they will have given the pick away for a three-month rental. That is very Nets.
• The Warriors did not get leapfrogged by a team below them, so they get to keep their pick — if it was 8 or lower the Jazz got the pick. Golden State’s tanking at the end of the season really paid off.
• Notice the Hornets will also have the No. 10 pick, that via Minnesota.
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