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June 26, 2017

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Bobcats hope draft lottery answers a cry for help

NEW YORK -- After the worst season in NBA history, the Charlotte Bobcats could use a player such as Anthony Davis.

Unfortunately for Michael Jordan's team, it's been a long time since lottery luck shined on the team needing it most.

The Bobcats hope that trend ends Wednesday, when they have the best odds of earning the No. 1 pick in next month's draft.

Charlotte has a 25 percent chance of victory, the reward for its 7-59 record that was the lowest winning percentage (.106) in league history. Davis is the college player of the year after leading Kentucky to the national championship. He is considered the top prize available.

Not since 2004, when the Orlando Magic drafted Dwight Howard, has the team with the worst record won the lottery. Minnesota dropped a spot to second last year, when the Cleveland Cavaliers moved up with a pick owed to them by the Los Angeles Clippers and took Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

The Bobcats, who dropped their final 23 games, appear in much more dire straits than some teams that were able to recover from their lottery letdowns.

"You could make the case that they don't have, at any position, a top-15 player at their position. So they're not in the top half of starters at any place on their roster, which is a tough place to be and that's why a guy like Anthony Davis, if they do draft him, he's going to be expected to turn it around. But there are no quick fixes," former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said Tuesday during a conference call.

The Washington Wizards have a 19.9 percent chance of picking first, while Cleveland (13.8 percent) and New Orleans (13.7) have the next-best chances.

The lottery is back in New York for the first time since 1993, moving to the Disney/ABC Times Square Studio from its longtime home in Secaucus, New Jersey, because the NBA Entertainment facility there no longer houses a television studio.

General manager Rich Cho will be on stage for the Bobcats, whose odds are best (35.8 percent) of picking fourth. The lottery sets the top three picks, with the remainder of the 14 participants drafting in inverse order of their records.

The draft is June 28 in Newark, New Jersey.

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