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NBA

The Hornets Won The Lottery, So Let’s Consider All The Conspiracy Theories That Made This Possible


In a nice bit of foreshadowing, Anthony Davis was spotted a few weeks ago sporting an old-school Hornets cap (thanks, @artindallas). Now he’s about to get a bunch of free Hornets gear — they give it to you when you go out and play for them professionally. Pretty sweet perk, huh?

(Wait — it’s an old-school Hornets cap, which makes it a Charlotte Hornets cap. Does that mean Davis wanted to go to Charlotte, or to the Hornets? Can we just give the Hornets back to Charlotte, the Jazz back to New Orleans, and make Utah the Near-Beers or something?)

Here’s how the draft ended up shaking out:

1. Hornets (21-45 last season)
2. Bobcats (7-59)
3. Wizards (20-46)
4. Cavaliers (21-45)
5. Kings (22-44)
6. Nets (22-44)
7. Warriors (23-43)
8. Raptors (23-43)
9. Pistons (25-41)
10. Hornets (21-45)
11. Blazers (28-38)
12. Bucks (31-35)
13. Suns (33-33)
14. Rockets (34-32)

The Hornets, as you can see, did not have the best chance to land the top pick. That distinction goes to the Charlotte Bobcats, who also hold the distinction of being, winning percentage-wise, the worst team ever. By falling to the second pick, the Bobcats became the eighth straight team with the worst record in the league to NOT get the top pick.

So how did New Orleans, who had the fourth-best chance at the first pick, end up with the right to draft the Big Unibrow? Some theories:

1) Tom Benson bought the pick along with the team for $338 million.

This is possible, because Benson also owns the Saints, and since the Saints are kind of screwed for the next few years — what with the whole Bountygate scandal and not being able to sign arguably the best quarterback in the league to a long-term deal — perhaps he was looking for a sure investment.

2) Anthony Davis liked playing in New Orleans so much, he sold his soul to the city and got drafted by the Hornets in return (plus, a beignet and half-off trumpet lessons).

Again, this also makes some sense. New Orleans has been kind to Davis, and it seems like a fun place to live. On the other hand, he was going to be rich no matter what, and could have gotten those trumpet lessons himself.

3) Michael Jordan is paying karmic penance for being the greatest basketball player of all-time by being in the charge of the worst basketball team of all-time.

This is simply irony. The universe does not care that Michael Jordan won a ton of rings. His true penance was going to play baseball and realizing that he can’t get great at everything.

4) The NBA still wasn’t satisfied with the trade that sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles and nine games of Eric Gordon (and a dude who shoots bobcats for fun) to New Orleans.

If you’re big into conspiracies, this could be the winner. You could tell, when Stern and the NBA finally pulled a trigger on a Chris-Paul-to-L.A.-deal, that they didn’t want to hear any more bitching and moaning about not wanting to send Chris Paul to a big market. And when Gordon went down, you know Stern felt like a putz. Has justice now been served?

5) Some ping-pong balls jumped around and New Orleans ended up with the top pick.

This is actually the most likely, because it’s what happened.

Congratulations to New Orleans, who will be landing their next big superstar. Plus, they got the number ten pick from the CP3 trade as well. Here’s to hoping they actually build a quality team around the kid, and don’t end up developing an All-Star who they end up trading away for a situation like this.

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