Hornets on the Internets: Draft Lottery Edition

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Today's the day!

Lots and lots of lottery news to round up this morning, so let's get to it.

Up first is this article on the lottery from SBN's own NetsDaily. I know we had our own breakdown of the lottery last week, but there's definitely more to be learned at that link. For instance:

To gain access to conference room 3A, everyone must first surrender all forms of communication with the outside world, no cell phones, no blackberries, no IPads. A sign on the outside of the entrance offers a stern (Stern?) warning: NO ADMITTANCE AFTER 7:10 P.M.

At the center of the room sits the lottery machine. In the event the machine breaks down, there is a second machine in an adjacent room. In the event both machines break down, there is a power failure or another unforeseeable event, the balls will be drawn manually from a basketball which has been lopped in half.

Okay. That's the most awesome thing I've ever heard. A "basketball which has been lopped in half?" Do they come prepared with a lopped-in-half ball? Does someone physically saw it in half when the machine breaks down? What sort of device would be most efficient in cutting basketballs in half? Who gets to cut the ball? Why don't they just scrap the lottery machine and make this the must-watch television event of the year? Get it together, Stern.

Staying on the subject of things that are awesome, Golden State of Mind has some cool visuals to explain each team's draft odds:

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It's kind of tough to tell the Hornets' odds for the 1, 2, 3, 11, and 12 picks, but it shows our odds at a top 3 pick pretty clearly. 

Taking a break from lottery news real quick, I'll link up yesterday's developments in the Hornets' coaching search. New Orleans conducted its eighth interview, with the Utah Jazz's Tyrone Corbin. From NOLA.com:

Hornets spokesman Harold Kaufman says Corbin interviewed for the job in New Orleans on Monday, making Corbin the eighth candidate to meet with the club.

Not "huge" news per se, but we hadn't heard much on the Corbin front even after Utah's elimination. Speculation is that Corbin will be the last of the first round of interviews. Whether Chouest was part of that interview is questionable, considering Marc Stein's report yesterday:

One coaching source said Sunday that incoming Hornets owner Gary Chouest -- who has participated in most of the interviews New Orleans has conducted so far -- has also been occupied in recent days mobilizing his marine-vessel company to assist with containment efforts in the ongoing BP oil-spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also from that same story:

Sources say Johnson and Boston Celtics assistant coach Tom Thibodeau, meanwhile, have emerged as standout contenders in New Orleans in a search that has generated seven interviews to date.

Coupling that report with Yahoo! Sports' story that Avery Johnson is not "the" front runner for the job, are we too far off base in speculating that Thibodeau is the favorite? I think not. Boston's postseason run could potentially throw a wrench in our plans. Then again, I don't see why a deal can't be agreed upon, with an announcement delayed till the end of Boston's season. In any case, the fact that New Orleans is targeting Johnson and Thibodeau is heartening.

Switching gears, back to the lottery: SBNation.com had a writeup yesterday about some of the more interesting draft lottery traditions over the years. My favorite is probably this one:

4.  2005: The Bucks and their "big catch"

Lots of teams run contests that allow their fans to submit their good luck charms for their team to bring to the lottery. It's a nice little promotion and it's cool to get the fans involved. But sometimes, it actually works. Like in 2005, when the Milwaukee Bucks rose from the sixth spot to get the number one pick on the strength of ... a fishing lure, or something. Here's a picture:

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The lure reportedly came from a 16-year old kid named Michael Millies. Here's how he described it:

"My lucky charm is a fishing lure that i got from my grandpa called "Little Cleo" and it catches big big fish whenever I use it fishing. I've had it for nine years and haven't lost it yet - and i still catch big fish. When I use other lures, the fish that I catch are no where near as big as the ones I catch with Cleo."

I can think of no better way to bring Andrew Bogut into the league than a fishing lure. It's quirky, and so is Bogut. A perfect fit.

Thankfully, New Orleans didn't need a fishing lure or the number one pick to get Chris Paul. 

The Hornets have generally sent vice presidents, GM's, and other executive types over the years. Hornets.com's Jim Eichenhofer has more on our rep for tonight:

  • Hornets president Hugh Weber will represent New Orleans on ESPN at the Secaucus, N.J. event. In the team’s previous two trips to the draft lottery, its representatives were Chris Paul (2006) and Chad Shinn (2007). The Hornets did not move up in either instance, claiming the 12th and 13th picks, respectively. Willis Reed represented New Orleans in 2005, when the Hornets dropped from the second slot to the fourth pick but wound up with CP3 in that draft.

  • The NBA always holds the actual lottery drawing – prior to the televised portion of the event – in a separate room, supervised by NBA security and an independent accounting firm. The Hornets’ representative there will be vice president of communications Harold Kaufman. All 14 team reps in that room will be sequestered and forced to temporarily give up their cell phones and other communication devices, because they will know the outcome of the lottery prior to everyone else. They are not allowed to communicate with anyone until after the lottery outcome is revealed on ESPN, meaning that even if Kaufman learns that the Hornets have won the draft lottery, he will not be able to inform Weber.

I'll leave you with the story from the Hornets' most successful draft lottery ever. Sorry I don't have a link, but it's from the Charlotte Observer, May 22nd, 1999:

SECAUCUS, N.J._ So much for the Hornets' quiet summer.

After a startling chain of events that defied mathematical probabilities Saturday in a back room of NBA Entertainment headquarters, the Hornets jumped from an almost certain 13th pick to third in the selection order for next month's league draft.

The leap assures them of another top player for next season's roster and, in the meantime, leaves them scrambling to schedule workouts for the leading projected players in the draft. It also leaves them surveying the entire draft landscape after initially believing they would go for a backup point guard, if one were still available at 13.

"This is special right here," coach Paul Silas said. "We're going to get a really good player out of the draft. We have a good team already and this will just make us even better.

*snip*

The consensus of several general managers and coaches at the lottery was that Odom, Brand and Francis would be the first three players taken. If Odom and Brand go 1-2 in whatever order, the Hornets could kill two birds with one stone, getting the best available player left and also a projected point guard in Francis.

"So we'll just have to wait and see," Hornets vice president Bob Bass said. "Sure, Francis could be there _ anybody can be there at three, because you don't know what the other two guys (in Chicago and Vancouver) are going to do.

"There's a possibility Francis could be the guy. But it's not a cinch by any means."

Of course, just getting the third pick was nothing resembling a cinch. The Hornets had moved way up twice before, from the fifth pick to the first in 1991 when they chose Larry Johnson and from eighth to second in 1992 when they picked Alonzo Mourning.

The lottery _ determined by the selection of Ping-Pong balls from a drum _ awarded the top three positions in true lottery fashion, then lined up the remaining teams in inverse order of their regular season finish.

The Hornets were 13th, last among the nonplayoff teams, based on their 26-24 record. There were 1,001 possible combinations when four numbered balls were drawn out of 14 in the drum. One thousand of those combinations were assigned to the 13 teams in a weighted system that gave more to the teams with the worst records.

Charlotte had only five combinations out of 1,000.

The lottery took place in a locked room off the stage where Silas and other team representatives waited for the televised portion of the event, when large envelopes were opened and cards bearing team logos were pulled out to reveal the order of the draft. They started with the 13th pick first and when Silas saw deputy NBA commissioner Russ Granik pull Seattle's logo _ not Charlotte's _ out of the envelope.

"I was shocked," Silas said. "I couldn't do anything but sit there and laugh.

Offstage, in the back room until the results were made public, was Harold Kaufman, the Hornets' vice president of public relations, who had represented the team when the combinations were drawn.

"Chicago got first, then Vancouver came up second," Kaufman said. "Then Vancouver came up four more times in a row, so they had to be doing it over until a different team came up. Then Chicago came up again.

"About that time I remembered something Paul Silas had told me about closing his eyes for good luck, like when he's watching an opposing player shoot free throws. So I said what the heck, and closed my eyes."

 

The Hornets' chance of getting the third pick was 0.73 percent.

"First I get the coaching job," Silas said. "Now this. It just seems like everything keeps falling into place."

(c) 1999, The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.).

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