Thursday night is the NBA Draft Lottery, otherwise known as the annual day of disappointment for Charlotte Hornets fans. The current iteration of the franchise has never had its draft position improved by the lottery. It’s only been hurt, and that’s happened four times for a total of six spots lost.
But this lottery will be different than any lottery Hornets fans have gone through. The NBA flattened the odds for teams throughout the lottery and is draws the first four picks. That makes the range of outcomes much more varied.
For reference, the last time the Hornets were slotted in the middle of the lottery was 2015. In that draft, they were ninth (this year they’re eighth). They had an 81.3% chance of staying put at the ninth pick, a 12.6% of dropping, and just a 6.1% chance of moving to the top three.
Compare that to this Thursday, where the Hornets are nearly equally as likely to end up in the top four, at pick eight, or lower than pick eight. Their exact odds are as follows:
Top 4: 26.2%
10th or lower: 7.2%
The congruence of odds between the eighth pick, ninth pick, and top four picks makes for a compelling viewing experience on Thursday night. Hornets fans are conditioned to expect nothing in the way of good luck, but they’re more likely to get it this year than they have been in any draft lottery in recent memory.