How do you feel about a 2.9 percent chance of hitting it big?
If you like those odds, then you won’t mind the Charlotte Hornets’ chances in Tuesday night’s annual NBA draft lottery, when the Hornets will be one of 14 teams in contention for a top-three pick in next month’s draft.
First, the bad news. If this lottery was held 100 times, odds are the Hornets would end up with the No. 11 or the No. 12 overall pick in 97 of those.
Charlotte finished last season 36-46, which was a bad season by most standards but a good one for the woeful have-nots who populate the NBA lottery. So the Hornets have a 90.7 percent chance of picking No. 11 and a 6.3 percent chance of picking No. 12.
But those other three chances out of 100? Those could be magic for the Hornets, who once before “won” the draft lottery in 1991 and took Larry Johnson at the No. 1 spot.
The Hornets’ odds for getting the No. 1 pick again, 26 years after LJ? Less than one percent -- 0.8 percent, to be exact.
The Hornets can only end up in one of six slots during the lottery, which will be held at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time in New York City and televised live by ESPN. They will be represented at the podium in New York by general manager Rich Cho, who needs a solid offseason this year to improve his job security.
Here are the exact odds for the Hornets landing in each slot Tuesday night, in order of probability:
No. 11: 90.7 percent.
No. 12: 6.3 percent.
No. 3: 1.2 percent.
No. 2: 0.9 percent.
No. 1: 0.8 percent.
No. 13: 0.1 percent.
With a top-three pick, the Hornets would likely be choosing among an elite group that includes Washington’s Markelle Fultz, UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, Kansas’s Josh Jackson, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac and Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
The Hornets won the NBA draft lottery in 1991, using the No. 1 overall pick to select Larry Johnson. In 2012, they lost it -- having the best odds in the NBA of getting the No. 1 pick that would have meant Anthony Davis but instead winding up at No. 2 and choosing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
If the Hornets stay at or around No. 11, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson could factor into their mix. The NBA draft will be held June 22.
If you are unfamiliar with how the NBA’s weighted lottery works, it involves 14 ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14. Four of them are randomly drawn to determine a four-digit combination. The worst teams have the best chance of getting the No. 1 pick. This backfired on the Hornets in 2012, when they had the best shot at getting the No. 1 pick -- 25 percent -- but ended up at No. 2 and wound up with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead of perennial All-Star Anthony Davis.
This year the Boston Celtics (53-29 in the regular season) actually have the best chance of the No. 1 pick, however. The Celtics have a 25 percent shot at No. 1, courtesy of a previous trade with the Brooklyn Nets, and they cannot pick lower than No. 4 overall.