After suffering through one of the worst seasons in all of sports history, the Charlotte Bobcats are hoping there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
The 2012 NBA Draft Lottery airs tonight at 8 pm on ESPN from New York, and the Bobcats have the highest chances of landing the top pick, which will likely be Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis.
Davis has been the consensus #1 pick for several months now, especially after dominating at the collegiate level to the tune of 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 4.7 blocked shots per game. With visions of Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan dancing in scouts’ heads, Davis has the legitimate tools to turn around a franchise like Charlotte or help a young team get to the next level.
Every team in the lottery could use the former Wildcat’s services, as his combination of size, athleticism, and shot-blocking ability are rare. Considering he has just one year of college basketball under his belt, his potential is immense.
Adding him to a team like the Pistons would immediately put them in the playoff race, as they have been lacking a true athletic big man who can protect the rim since the early years of Ben Wallace’s tenure on the Pistons. While it might not put them into any “contender” talks, it would greatly accelerate the rebuilding process for Joe Dumars and company.
Rookie guard Brandon Knight put it best in an interview with the Detroit Free Press:
“It allows your guards to get up and pressure a little bit more,” Knight said. “You have to worry about staying in front (of your man), but you have a little bit more protection at the rim where you know if he does get by you, you will have a guy challenging that shot or at least trying to change it if he doesn’t block it.”
While the Pistons chances at landing Davis aren’t great (just 1.7%), it’s not uncommon for the team with the highest lottery chances to not win the top pick.
Just last year, the Minnesota Timberwolves had a 25% chance (exactly like Charlotte) but ended up picking second, losing out on Duke freshman Kyrie Irving. The year before that, the Washington Wizards had the fifth best odds, but ended up with the first overall pick, John Wall. While I’m not certain that the Bobcats didn’t just tank the season (they were awful, so it might’ve been real), that strategy doesn’t necessarily work out all the time.
Whoever the Pistons end up with, he must be willing to come in and play defense, as that is the Achilles’ heel of the team right now. Whether Lady Luck helps out Detroit tonight or they end up picking in the 9-11 spot, they must get value for their pick and continue building on their already solid young core of players.
Pistons probability for each lottery spot
Every lottery team’s chances at winning the #1 pick
Previous trades could alter the draft, however. New Jersey’s top-three protested pick could be sent to Portland (Gerald Wallace trade), Golden State’s selection could be sent to Utah as part of the Marcus Williams trade (top-seven protected), and Minnesota’s pick will be sent to New Orleans as part of the controversial NBA-approved Chris Paul trade.