The Charlotte Bobcats did everything wrong last season. And they might not be rewarded for it.
They were the worst team in the NBA and statistically the worst in NBA history. But I dont begrudge them their seven victories in a strike-shortened season.
Would you prefer that the home team cling to its core players and consistently finish sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth or 10th?
Or would you prefer that they finish last if it puts them in position to acquire the young talent that could lift them out of the basement and perhaps out of mediocrity?
Give me the latter. The Bobcats didnt tank the 2011-12 season any more than the Carolina Panthers tanked 2010. Veterans were beginning to fade and so were opportunities. Like Carolina, Charlotte became worse to become better.
Wednesday the Bobcats could get their reward. At 8 p.m., the NBA will hold its draft lottery in the Disney/ABC Times Square studios. If the right combination of ping-pong balls pops, the Bobcats will win the first pick in the NBA draft and the opportunity to draft Kentuckys Anthony Davis.
Second prize probably will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a gifted small forward from the same Kentucky team.
Davis would be to the Bobcats what Cam Newton is to the Panthers. Three years from now, when people talk about the top 10 players in the NBA, theyll talk about Davis, a 6-10, 220-pound center/forward. They might talk about him when they talk about the top five.
Davis is a player around whom you construct your team. He averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks a game last season as a freshman and shot 62.3 percent from the field. Hes sufficiently unselfish that three teammates took more shots than he did. Everything you want in a star, he offers.
If the Bobcats get him, they have a franchise player, and rebuilding is under way.
Davis grew up in Chicago, the town Bobcats owner Michael Jordan once ruled.
Look him up on the Internet and hes a testament to versatility. You see Anthony Davis, internationally known composer of operatic, symphonic, choral and charter work, and you see Anthony Davis Designs, designs that include fashion, couture and interior.
So its a symphony every time the man steps onto the court, and he looks sharp conducting it.
What cant the man do?
To get him, the Bobcats cant do a thing. They have a 25 percent chance to win the first pick. The Washington Wizards are next at 19.9 percent. Fourteen teams have a chance at the top pick, the last of them the Houston Rockets at 0.5 percent.
The Bobcats have a better shot than anybody else, but the odds are 3-1 against them.
People love to say you make your own luck.
Id at least try.
If Im the Bobcats, I spend Wednesday committing good deeds. I hold the door for strangers for so long that people want to give me a tip. I refrain from flashing my lights at the driver in front of me impeding the left lane of the freeway. If I see somebody with a flat tire, I slow down and look sympathetic. If I have a lucky chair, I sit in it, a lucky dog, I pet it, and a lucky drink, I drink it. I walk old ladies all the way across the street.
Maybe I pray. To give the prayer some heft, I include a promise. Give me the No. 1 pick, and I promise Ill never go to see the Chicago Cubs or Chicago Blackhawks when the team I own is losing.
Wednesday is the biggest night in Charlottes eight-season history. Nothing else is close.
And theres not a thing the Bobcats can do except to hope that all that they didnt do this season is enough.