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HORNETS OWN RARE DOUBLE LOTTERY PICKS
By: Bob Licht, @hortonhomers
June 25, 2012

This is the most exciting week for the New Orleans Hornets since the buildup to Game 7 against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2008 Western Conference Playoff Semifinals. A new era begins for the franchise on June 28th when the NBA Draft commences. It continues an amazing run of positive events for the team; from new, local ownership (Saints owner Tom Benson), to a long term arena lease extension that ensures the team remains in Louisiana (Were In For Good!). National media attention will also be focused on the Big Easy to cover the Hornets selection of the number one overall pick in this years draft.

In fact, will likely be more anxious to get to the New Orleans Arena on Thursday night for the Budweiser Draft Party than they were for the Hornets-Bobcats meeting there last March (ironically, one of only seven Charlotte wins in what turned out to be (historically speaking) the worst season in NBA history). But, Hornets fans can brag that while the Bobcats won the game New Orleans won the battle in beating out Charlotte for the top pick in this weeks draft.

Speaking of history, the Hornets will become just the 9th different franchise since the NBA adopted the Draft Lottery to hold TWO LOTTERY picks in the same year (#1 and #10). This is just the 11th time since 1986 that one franchise entered the draft in possession of more than one lottery pick; its also just the third time EVER the team that holds the #1 OVERALL pick also has a second lottery choice in the draft.

Heres a list of all of the DOUBLE LOTTERY PICK teams and how they did in their unique draft:

YEAR TEAM PICK # SELECTIONS NOTES #1 OVERALL
2011 CLE 1
4
KYRIE IRVING
TRISTAN THOMPSON

PASSED ON KLAY THOMPSON
IRVING
2009 MIN 5
6
RICKY RUBIO
JONNY FLYNN

PASSED ON STEPHEN CURRY, BRANDON JENNINGS AND JRUE HOLIDAY
BLAKE GRIFFIN
2001 BOS 10
11
JOE JOHNSON
KEDRICK BROWN

PASSED ON ZACH RANDOLPH/GERALD WALLACE
KWAME BROWN
2000 LAC 3
10
DARIUS MILES
KEYON DOOLING
PASSED ON HEDO TURKOGLU KENYON MARTIN
1997 BOS 3
6
CHAUNCEY BILLUPS
RON MERCER

PASSED ON TRACY MCGRADY
TIM DUNCAN
1993 DET 10
11
LINDSEY HUNTER
ALLAN HOUSTON

CHRIS WEBBER
1991 DEN 4
8
DIKEMBE MUTOMBO
MARK MACON

PASSED ON TERRELL BRANDON
LARRY JOHNSON
1987 CHI

SEA
8
10
5
9
OLDEN POLYNICE
HORACE GRANT
SCOTTIE PIPPEN
DERRICK MCKEY
TRADED FOR SCOTTIE PIPPEN DAVID ROBINSON
1986 CLE 1
8
BRAD DAUGHERTY
RON HARPER

DAUGHERTY


As you can see above only New Orleans and Cleveland (twice) have ever had both the 1st overall pick AND another lottery pick in the same draft. And, despite the fact that this is just the 11th time such an occurrence has ever happened in the NBA its THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE SEASON it has happened.

Its also painfully clear that mistakes were made (Seattle traded Scottie Pippen for Olden Polyniceno reallythey did; Boston passed on T-Mac to selectRon Mercer; and more recently, Minnesota decided on Jonny Flynn over Stephen Curry, among others).

Another interesting breakdown is how many big man superstars were selected First Overall in the Double Lottery Drafts:
David Robinson | Larry Johnson | Chris Webber | Tim Duncan | Blake Griffin

Harbinger for the Hornets? Dell Demps and Monty Williams certainly hope so.

How did the previous 10 drafts help their respective teams turn around their fortunes the next season? Once again, lets look at the numbers:

YEAR TEAM RECORD PREVIOUS SEASON RECORD WIN DIFFERENCE
2011 CLE 21-45 19-63 +2
2009 MIN 15-67 24-58 -9
2001 BOS 49-33 36-46 +13
2000 LAC 31-51 15-67 +16
1997 BOS 36-46 15-67 +21
1993 DET 20-62 40-42 -20
1991 DEN 24-58 20-62 +4
1987 CHI
SEA
50-32
44-38
40-42
39-43
+10
+5
1986 CLE 31-51 29-53 +2


The above breakdown is pretty amazing. Only TWICE in 10 seasons has a team with TWO LOTTERY picks NOT IMPROVED its record from the previous season. In 1993, the Pistons were in a total rebuilding mode a couple of seasons removed from back to back NBA titles; In 2009, the Timberwolves were committed to another total rebuilding situation two seasons after trading Kevin Garnett and in possession of three 1st round picks.

For the other eight teams that all increased their win totals the following season their average increase was 9 games. So, if the Hornets only increase their 2012-13 record by this AVERAGE they stand to improve to 31-51. Of course, several teams on this list had dramatic improvement (3 teams improved by 13 or more games).

So, history seems to be in the Hornets favor. Almost every team that has had multiple lottery picks in the same NBA Draft has improved the following season. And remember, we are not projecting the Hornets win total over a two or three season stretchjust for this upcoming season when the team will likely be one of the youngest in the league.

Big parties in the Big Easy are nothing new. But this one has a very special feel to it. Its a page turner. Its a moment in time all proud Louisiana basketball fans will cherish. The top pick in the entire NBA Draft becomes the first official basketball transaction of the Tom Benson eraand thats worthy of all the attention it will likely receive.

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