Hornets win draft lottery, will pick No. 1 in NBA

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NEW YORK (AP) - New owner, and now a new star player. The future suddenly looks bright for the New Orleans Hornets.

Meanwhile, it was yet another loss _ in a historic season full of them _ for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Hornets, recently sold by the NBA to Saints owner Tom Benson, won the NBA’s draft lottery Wednesday and the No. 1 pick overall _ which they almost certainly will use to pick Kentucky star Anthony Davis.

At least that’s what the consensus college player of the year is expecting. 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.

The good news for the Hornets comes after a difficult season in which they traded All-Star Chris Paul and a couple of years in limbo where they couldn’t do much to upgrade the roster while the league was looking for a buyer.

“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 Bobcats, after going 7-59 for the worst winning percentage in NBA history, fell to the No. 2 pick. Washington will pick third and Cleveland fell one spot to fourth.

Charlotte had a 25 percent chance of grabbing the No. 1 pick, but instead will have to take the best player after Davis, possibly his teammate, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The team with the worst record hasn’t won since Orlando drafted Dwight Howard in 2004.

“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 said. “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.”

Cho and team vice chairman Curtis Polk said they hadn’t heard from Jordan, the Bobcats owner.

“Being No. 2 isn’t terrible. We’ll be fine,” Polk said.

The league bought the Hornets from owner George Shinn in December 2010 and the sale to Benson was completed in April. The NBA was criticized for the conflict of interest of a league owning a franchise, particularly when Commissioner David Stern blocked a trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers in December, then approved another that landed Paul with the Clippers.

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