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Cho and team vice chairman Curtis Polk said shortly after the results 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 financially struggling owner George Shinn in December 2010 and the sale to Benson was completed in April. In between, 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.

The ownership uncertainty hindered the Hornets, but they were in a celebrating mood Wednesday after earning the No. 1 pick for the first time since 1991, when they were still in Charlotte and took Larry Johnson.

General manager Dell Demps said he pumped his fist in the room where the drawing took place after seeing that the balls had been drawn in the Hornets’ favor.

“When our combination came up, it was an exciting feeling,” he said. “I got an incredible rush. … We knew what the odds were. We hoped for the best. It was nothing we could control. We’re just happy.”

The Hornets finished 21-45, winning eight of their final 13 games with a young roster. Williams and his players felt it would be wrong to do anything but try to win down the stretch, and they were rewarded.

“Obviously, we’re very excited,” Demps said. “This is a great day for the city of New Orleans, our fans. … This is the start of a new beginning.”

Though they didn’t officially say it, it’s expected to start with Davis. One of the most dominant defensive college players in years, he earned Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four even as he went 1 for 10 from the field in the championship game. He blocked a record-tying six shots and had 16 rebounds and three steals in the Wildcats’ 67-59 victory over Kansas.

Davis is not LeBron. He’s not Tim (Duncan). But they were young once and Tim had four years of college,” Williams said.

The Nets were the other big loser when they stayed in the No. 6 spot. They owed their pick to Portland for this season’s Gerald Wallace trade unless they moved into the top three.

The Cavs beat the odds last year and moved up to take Kyrie Irving, the eventual Rookie of the Year, and tried to follow the same formula. Nick Gilbert, the 15-year-old son of owner Dan Gilbert, was back on the podium in his bow tie, and the Cavs’ traveling party that included Dan Gilbert, and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar and current Browns players Josh Cribbs and Joe Haden sported the same dress.

But there was no repeat, as the Cavs went backward this time.

“Still feel very good about (number)4 pick,” Dan Gilbert wrote on his Twitter page. “We are getting a great player there and good additions w/our other 3 picks. I believe.”

Sacramento rounds out the top five of the draft, to be held June 28 in Newark, N.J.

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