You can change the name, but apparently you can’t change the Charlotte Bobcats’ lottery luck.
Roughly three hours after the Bobcats announced their intent to switch to “Charlotte Hornets,” the team got bad news in the draft lottery. They will pick fourth on June 27 after finishing last season with the NBA’s second-worst record at 21-61.
This is the second year the Bobcats slipped in the lottery after a bad season. In 2012 they went 7-59 – worst record in NBA history – but drafted second behind the New Orleans (no longer) Hornets.
The draft lottery is a weighted process among the 14 teams which missed the playoffs. Only the first three draft spots are determined by the lottery. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards both slipped ahead of the Bobcats in the draft, despite finishing last season with a better record.
The Cavs will pick first, the NBA-worst Orlando Magic will pick second and the Wizards will pick third.
It’s a reasonable guess Kentucky center Nerlens Noel and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore will both be gone among the top-three picks. Michigan’s Trey Burke could go to Orlando, since the Magic needs a young point guard as much as anything.
That could leave them to choose between, among others, Georgetown forward Otto Porter, Nevada-Las Vegas forward Anthony Bennett, Maryland center Alex Len or either of two Indiana players – Cody Zeller or Victor Oladipo.
Bobcats executives Rod Higgins and Rich Cho met with the media following the lottery selection. They didn’t offer much detail on players available, except to say they’d likely work out at least six or seven for the fourth spot. The Bobcats have no second-round pick this draft.
General manager Cho said the Bobcats’ current roster shouldn’t be relevant to who they select.
“Ideally you take the best player available – my philosophy has always been you draft for talent, trade for need,” Cho said.
Cho mentioned size, rebounding and shooting as the areas that need the most improvement.
The Bobcats will start auditioning players in early June. They may or may not have a coach hired by then to replace Mike Dunlap, who was fired after the season.
Higgins, President of basketball operations, didn’t provide specifics on the coaching search beyond saying they’ve interviewed numerous candidates and feel no rush to make a decision.