“Other than the birth of my child,” or “Except for finding my wife,” are two things people love to say before they claim something as a big deal, the biggest in their life, career or whatever. The Charlotte Bobcats would have to preface Wednesday’s NBA Draft Lottery by saying “Other than the founding of the team,” yes, this year’s Draft Lottery is the biggest deal in the young history of the team.
Hopefully this won’t be the biggest ever, but it could set things up that hopefully, likely would be much much bigger than any ping-pong announcement. I keep calling it a “thing” or a “deal,” because it is abstract to me. Hopes and aspirations of a franchise, maybe the future of the league staying in the city, based on the way ping-pong balls go. It’s only fair, but still, after an unbelievably poor season, you would hope for more than a 25% chance at getting that #1 overall pick.
The Bobcats winning % was almost 20% worse than the next worse team, the Wizards but their chances to win the #1 overall pick is only 5% better. I don’t know if I’d advocate for a weighted lottery, based on winning % rather than simply the order in which teams finished, but this year, I want every advantage the Bobcats can get.
Arguably, Anthony Davis is significantly better than whoever might be drafted second. The fact we can’t name the #2 prospect says a lot about how much better Davis is than the other players but I wouldn’t put him in the realm of Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, David Robinson, Lebron James or any of the handful of “must win” the lottery players over the history of the activity. That said, I still want the Bobcats to have the pick in order to get him.
It’s been reported in a really good post by Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears, that Rod Higgins, the Bobcats’ head basketball man, isn’t losing any sleep over this. It’s complete chance, luck is the only factor now. No need to stress over the selection. What bothers me that I didn’t know before reading that post is that the Bobcats actually have a better chance at getting the #4 overall pick, at 35%, but that’s after the #1, #2 and #3 draws, if I know the process, which I may or may not. But the Bobcats are guaranteed no lower than #4.
It’s a strange sort of spectacle. It’s almost like sitting in the Keno room in a Vegas casino. Everyone hopeful, everyone awkwardly sitting there waiting on the numbers to be shown. Only this time, the people holding tickets are a strange assortment of owners’ kids, NBA legends, team executives, star players and basically, mascots. ESPN will awkwardly interview several of the “participants” as they sit on a dais, and probably show some of the little “good luck” trinkets. It is a bit of a farce, but only in that there’s no better way to do it, and personally, I hate that the NBA trivializes what would and could be a massive moment for a franchise’s fortunes.
I don’t actually believe that if the Bobcats get the #4 pick rather than #1 that the team will fold or leave town. I don’t believe that Davis will be a Rookie All-Star, but will develop into a serious talent. It’s just too early to tell with him, but he’s got the best chance of anyone available. I know the backlash will be huge, from fans, who are more superstitious and more emotional than anyone else involved in the sport, if the Bobcats don’t get the #1 spot.
There is nothing, at all, that anyone can do about the outcome of the draft lottery. The Bobcats have the best chance, but it’s all luck. If they don’t win, it might convince me that the Bobcats are one of the most unluckiest, most snake-bit franchises in sports history. Legitimately though, that doesn’t really matter.
Big deal? You better believe it. If it doesn’t go the “Cats way? Still a big deal, but more from a longevity and strategy standpoint. It will take longer if they don’t win, but there is nothing, nothing that anyone can do about it.