The Hornets, who tied for the NBA’s third-worst record of 21-45 this season and were sold by the league to Tom Benson in April, won the league’s draft lottery last night in New York to claim the top selection.
The Charlotte Bobcats, who went 7-59 for the worst record in NBA history, captured the second pick. The Washington Wizards took spot No. 3. By capturing the sixth spot, the Brooklyn Nets lost their first-round selection.
“I feel real blessed to be in this position,” Hornets coach Monty Williams said in a conference call with reporters. ”Getting the No. 1 pick gives you the chance to make the right choice, adding a player that could be a game-changer for us.”
By failing to land one of the top three spots, the Nets lost their No. 6 pick to the Portland Trail Blazers as part of the March trade in which they acquired forward Gerald Wallace.
The Nets, who tied with Sacramento for the fifth-worst record in the NBA this season at 22-44, had a clause in the deal that would have allowed them to retain their first-round pick if it had been among the top three.
That leaves the Nets without a draft slot until fourth from last in the second round.
The NBA purchased the Hornets from George Shinn in December 2010 and announced April 13 that the team had been sold to Benson, owner of the National Football League’s New Orleans Saints.
Chris Paul Trade
During the period of NBA ownership, league Commissioner David Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent point guard Chris Paul from the Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers and later approved Paul’s trade to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Now they have a chance to select Davis, who led Kentucky to the national championship in New Orleans as a freshman this season and was the Associated Press college player of the year.
“It’s like karma, I won a national championship there,” Davis said in a television interview. “I can’t wait to get down there, if I get drafted No. 1.”
Unless there are trades before the June 28 draft, the rest of the order will have Cleveland selecting fourth, followed by Sacramento and Portland.
Golden State will be seventh, Toronto eighth, Detroit ninth and New Orleans 10th. Portland will select 11th, followed by Milwaukee, Phoenix and Houston.
The draft lottery is held after each season among the 14 teams that did not make the playoffs. There were 13 teams participating this year because the Hornets held their own spot and acquired another in a trade with Minnesota.
The 16 NBA teams that made the playoffs will select after that, from worst regular-season record to best.
The New York Knicks, who traded away their first-round selection as part of the 2010 acquisition of Tracy McGrady, will not pick until No. 48 -- midway through the second round.
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