New Orleans Hoping for More Good Fortune in Lottery

New Orleans Hoping for More Good Fortune in Lottery
April 18, 2013

Can lightning strike twice?

A year ago, New Orleans’ NBA franchise received an immediate boost when it won the 2012 draft lottery, despite having just a 13.7 percent chance of doing so. The team used the No. 1 overall pick on power forward Anthony Davis, a critical building block in the revamped franchise’s rebuilding plans.

Even though New Orleans (27-55) won six more games in 2012-13, its odds of hitting paydirt in the lottery are only a few percentage points fewer. This time, the Pelicans will have an 8.8 percent chance of capturing the top draft slot. If they win the lottery, it would be the first time an NBA team has won it consecutively in two decades. The Orlando Magic managed to take both the 1992 and 1993 draft lotteries, which landed them the rights to the memorable inside-outside duo of Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. That combo helped Orlando reach the 1995 NBA Finals.

Having compiled the fifth-fewest victories in the NBA this season, that means New Orleans will enter the May 21 lottery event in the No. 5 slot. In addition to the 8.8 percent opportunity of winning the No. 1 pick, the Pelicans will have a 9.7 percent chance of moving up to the second pick and a 10.7 percent of placing third in the lottery. There is about a one-in-four chance of remaining at No. 5 (26.1 percent, to be exact), but the most likely possibility mathematically is actually a 36.0 percent shot at dropping to sixth. If two teams further down the lottery list move into the top three, the Pelicans could fall to seventh (8.4 percent). There’s also a scenario with microscopic odds (0.4 percent) of winding up with the eighth pick. New Orleans cannot pick either fourth or anywhere between ninth and 14th.

Shortly after the May 21 lottery is held, the Pelicans will begin working out potential first-round prospects at the Alario Center in Westwego for the final time. Whomever the Pelicans select in the draft on June 27 will begin his NBA career at the team’s brand-new, state-of-the-art practice facility in Metairie. The facility – located on the same campus as the New Orleans Saints – is currently under construction, with an anticipated completion of later this summer.