NBA Draft Lottery: Congratulations to the Hornets
The New Orleans Hornets won the NBA Draft Lottery — they will pick first in the draft and get Kentucky star Anthony Davis. And for those who say the NBA rigged the lottery to reward Hornets owner Tom Benson for buying the franchise, I say, it’s about time the league did something smart. The Hornets absolutely deserved the No. 1 pick, and here’s why.
New Orleans didn’t tank the season. New Orleans didn’t throw games. New Orleans didn’t make an abomination of the NBA’s competitive spirit.
Some NBA franchises clearly quit trying, either by trading away what little talent it had or by sitting what little talent it had or by general apathy. But not the Hornets, who played hard until the end. After the Chris Paul trade, the Hornets effectively were out of the playoff race, even at season’s start. And with the injury to Eric Gordon, the Hornets were going nowhere fast. New Orleans started 4-23 and had every reason to tank the season. And it didn’t happen. Under coach Monty Williams, the Hornets kept fighting. They were 8-25 at the halfway mark, 13-37 after 50 games and 21-45 by season’s end. That’s 8-8 in the last 16 games.
Look at the other franchises over the last quarter of the season. Charlotte just quit, going 0-16 (23-game losing streak). Minnesota, which was in playoff contention at the halfway mark, went 2-14. Golden State was 3-13, Cleveland 4-12 and Portland 5-11.
But kudos to the Hornets, and the Wizards, who were awful early but went 9-7 over its last 16 games. Detroit was 4-20 to start the season but went 7-9 over its last 16 games. Toronto fought to a 7-9 record in its last 16 games.
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