What are the Hornets odds of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft?

By Chase Whitney

May 15, 2023

The Charlotte Hornets were struck with blow after blow this past year, starting with a tumultuous summer then an injury-plagued season. As a result, they’ve earned the fourth-best odds in the 2023 NBA Draft Lottery.

The top of the draft is stacked with talent and a few lucky franchises truly have a chance to change their immediate outlook. Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson, Amen Thompson, Ausar Thompson, and Brandon Miller have all been deemed as potential stars, and the Hornets are in the mix to draft one of these exciting prospects. 

NBA Draft Lottery odds

With the fourth-best odds, the Hornets can land anywhere between one and eight, with a 48.1 percent chance to be in the top four. The single most likely landing spot is sixth, where they have a 25.7 percent chance of picking, while there’s a 12.5 percent chance the Hornets make the leap into the top spot. In 2020, the last time the Hornets had top-ten lottery odds, they jumped up five spots and took LaMelo Ball third overall. Let’s hope the lottery luck is on our side Tuesday night. 

In the past, the Hornets have sent current players as representatives, and the trend continues this year as Mark Williams is slated to attend the lottery in Chicago. Perhaps the presence of a current Hornets big man will sway the lottery gods in Charlotte’s favor and grant them a shot at Wemby, the one truly generational talent in the draft.

Outside of Ball and Williams, the Hornets could use another infusion of young talent before the organization attempts to make a playoff push again next year. Since landing four rotation players (Miles Bridges, Cody Martin, Jalen McDaniels and PJ Washington) in 2018 and 2019, the draft results have been spotty for Charlotte.

Ball is obviously a hit as a second-year All-Star, Williams appears well on his way to being a high-quality starter, and Nick Richards received an extension to be Williams’ long-term backup, but no other draftee since 2020 should be in the team’s rotation at full strength. Bryce McGowens and JT Thor have shown promise when given opportunity, but consistent production from any other young players has been sparse. Landing in the top five and having a shot at a high-quality prospect in this draft would mean a lot for the Hornets immediate future. They also have veteran contracts and draft capital necessary to make a franchise-altering trade.

The Hornets have only landed the top spot in the draft lottery once in 1991 when they selected Larry Johnson. Hopefully another franchise frontcourt talent will land in Charlotte this year to help turn things around. 

The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery will air on Tuesday, May 16 at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN.

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