New Orleans Hornets Win Draft Lottery, Get #1 Pick In 2012 NBA Draft

By Randall Stevens  |  05/31/2012

New Orleans coach Monty Williams celebrates after getting the top pick of the 2012 NBA Draft.The New Orleans Hornets had one helluva season. They lost Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers in December, and had a losing season. However, their luck has changed...

After landing a new owner in April (Saints owner Tom Benson), the latest good news for the franchise is: getting the #1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Hornets won the NBA's draft lottery on Wednesday (May 30) and now have the #1 pick overall -- which the Associated Press (and other sports outlets) say will almost certainly be used for Kentucky star Anthony Davis.

Moments after the Hornets won the lottery, Davis said he was looking forward to playing professionally in the place where he led the Wildcats to a national championship in April.

"Just a first step for us to winning it all," Benson said in a TV interview after the lottery.

The Hornets moved up from the fourth spot, where they had a 13.7 percent chance, to earn the pick.

"Everything was surreal once they announced the fourth pick," said Hornets coach Monty Williams, who represented the team on stage. "I said 'This is pretty cool.' I knew my wife and kids were home praying that things would go well and they did."

The NBA bought the Hornets from owner George Shinn in December 2010 and the sale to Benson was completed in April. The last time the Hornets got the #1 pick was in 1991, when they were still in Charlotte and took Larry Johnson.

Michael Jordan's Charlotte Bobcats, who had the worst record this past season (7-59) and the worst winning percentage in NBA history, got the #2 pick; Washington got #3; and the Cleveland Cavs got #4.

Charlotte had a 25 percent chance of grabbing the #1 pick, but instead will have to take the best player after Davis, possibly his teammate, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

"We will still take the best player available and when you win seven games you have a lot of holes," Bobcats general manager Rich Cho told the AP about getting the second pick. "From a competitive standpoint and for anyone who has played sports or been competitive, you want to win and be No. 1. We know we're still going to get a good player."

Team vice chairman Curtis Polk added, "Being No. 2 isn't terrible. We'll be fine."