Hornets have 14.8 percent chance at No. 1 pick
By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_Eichenhofer
April 30, 2012

In a season filled with bad luck, perhaps it was fitting that the New Orleans Hornets final loss of 2011-12 occurred on a coin toss. On Friday, April 27, the NBA broke a tie for the third spot in the draft lottery with a coin flip between the Hornets and the Cleveland Cavaliers, both of whom finished the regular season at 21-45. The Cavaliers prevailed no word on whether they went with heads or tails moving them into the No. 3 slot of the May 30 lottery. As a result, the Hornets will head into lotto night in the No. 4 position.

The Hornets-Cavs coin flip actually does not have much of an impact on the percentage chance that the Hornets have to win the draft lottery and the No. 1 overall pick that comes with it. New Orleans now has a 13.7 percent chance to gain the top choice from its own first-round pick. Its percentage chance to secure the second pick is 14.2, along with 14.4 for the third pick. By adding those three percentages together, it means that the Hornets have approximately a 42.3 percent chance to win a top-three pick from their own first-rounder.

Making things a bit more complicated is the fact that New Orleans also owns the 10th slot in the draft lottery (as a result of the December trade with the Los Angeles Clippers). The No. 10 lottery slot carries a 1.1 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, followed by 1.3 and 1.6 percent chances of getting the No. 2 and No. 3 picks, respectively.

Here are the Hornets lottery odds, in chart form:

First pick Second pick Third pick Top-three chance
New Orleans (No. 4 lottery slot) 13.7 14.2 14.4 42.3
New Orleans (No. 10 lottery slot) 1.1 1.3 1.6 4.0
New Orleans (combined chance) 14.8 15.5 16.0 46.3

Although the coin flip had only a minuscule impact on the Hornets odds of winning the lottery, it would come into play if neither the Hornets nor Cavaliers end up with a top-three pick, for example. If that happens, Cleveland would automatically be given a draft pick one spot ahead of New Orleans choice.

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