A History of Hornets' Draft Lottery Performances

Apr 22, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Orleans Hornets center Al-Farouq Aminu (0) dunks the ball as Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan (6) watches at the Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Hornets 107-98. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

[Reposting this slightly-updated story originally from 2010 looking at the Hornets in the lottery. The 2012 lottery is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6:30 PM CST. Link to the original story is here. -R]

With the draft lottery only three days away now, I thought it'd be interesting to look back at each of the previous times the Hornets have been in the lottery.

Year

Draft Slot

% odds of 1st pick

% odds of top 3

Draft Pick

1990

4

12.1

12.1 (?)

5

1991

5

10.6

10.6 (?)

1

1992

8

6.1

6.1 (?)

2

1994

11

0.5

1.8

11 (traded)

1996

13

0.8

1.8

13 (traded)

1999

13

0.5

1.8

3

2005

2

17.8

51.6

4

2006

12

0.7

1.0

12

2007

13

0.6

2.2

13

2010

11

0.8

2.9

11 (traded)

2012

4

13.7

42.4

???

2012

10

1.1

4.0

???

Graphically:

Lottery_history_medium

The draft slot essentially refers to the Hornets' place in the standings, in reverse order. Some points of note:

  • The odds for the top 3 in 1990, 1991, and 1992 have to be wrong, I'm assuming. I got the data from DraftExpress; if the only way the Hornets could land in the top 3 in any of those years was to get the #1 overall pick, how did they get the #2 pick in 1992?
  • New Orleans nabbed Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning at #1 and #2, at long odds for each. As bad as the franchise was in its inaugural years, it actually took them some luck to land those two guys.
  • Check out 1999! The Hornets had 1.8% odds of getting a top 3 pick (more than a percentage point lower than our 2010 odds) and they nailed it. That was the year they took Baron Davis at 3, out of UCLA, behind Elton Brand and Steve Francis.
  • The top 3 selection of 1999 was the last the Hornets had for the next five seasons. In between, they fired a couple coaches, switched GM's, came within a game of the Eastern Conference Finals, and oh, switched cities.
  • The Hornets' average draft slot when in the lottery is 9.2, and their average pick is 7.1.
  • 2005 came together rather oddly. The Hornets actually finished in a tie for the league's second worst record, with the Charlotte Bobcats. The teams had a coin flip at an owner's meeting, before the draft lottery. In case neither team picked up a top 3 draft selection, the coin flip determined which team would select ahead of the other. At the time, I don't recall it being that big of a deal; both the Bobcats and the Hornets had higher than 50% odds they'd get at least a top 3 pick. Of course, as luck would have it, the Bucks, Hawks, and Blazers nailed down the top three picks. The Hornets selected 4th, Charlotte selected 5th, and the rest is history.
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