When the New Orleans Hornets won the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery on Wednesday night there were a lot of people screaming conspiracy.
I’m not going to be one of them.
In a season where people spent weeks and even months discussing the value and morality of tanking, the Hornets being the team to land the #1 pick is a good thing.
While the Charlotte Bobcats had the greatest chance of landing the top pick after digging themselves into a hole of despair all season long, it was the Hornets who struck gold. After losing franchise player Chris Paul at the beginning of the season, Monty Williams refused to quit or allow his players to surrender to the situation they were in. Undermanned and outmatched just about every night that they hit the court, New Orleans played hard each possession, every night.
While there were more losses than wins and no one wants to talk about moral victories when earning a pay check to procure the real thing, Williams and his coaching staff found a way to turn each game, half and possession into a teaching opportunity with the potential to turn into more.
It seems fitting then, that in a league filled with teams believing that losses had become more important than victories in their hopes of finding the shortcut that would lead them to an Anthony Davis, Williams stayed the course and will be rewarded with Davis next season.
This works out for Davis, too. He’ll get to play his rightful position from the jump. He’ll learn from a coach who values defense and demands it. Williams has to be salivating at the opportunity to have a player like Davis in his system. While the Hornets still have work to do, they’ve got pieces. They showed all season long that they have heart. Now, after the results of the lottery, they also have an abundance of hope.