You can buy a pack of 144 Ningbo ping pong balls from Amazon for $15.21. Or you could go bigger and get a 144 pack of Stiga T68759’s for $33.59.
Something tells me David Stern went with the Stiga’s.
14 of those small, white, plastic spheres, usually tossed around sticky tables in college dorm rooms at two in the morning, will decide the fate of the Charlotte Bobcats tonight.
It’s hard to pin point a team that has needed to win the lottery as much as Charlotte does Wednesday night.
Even at the very surface of the matter, the Bobcats’ desperation is clear; They are a team without a coach. Plenty of the candidates Charlotte has interviewed so far would love to come aboard and coach Anthony Davis. Not so many would throw themselves at Michael Kidd Gilchrist, Bradley Beal or Thomas Robinson (especially with Orlando’s coaching job wide open).
Then there are the free agents who will be available this summer and next. The Bobcats have a wild amount of cap space to work with, but it’s going to be hard to spend it on the best available players if Charlotte ends up with, let’s say… the fourth pick.
If Charlotte drafts Anthony Davis, his ability and potential could be enough to lure a semi-big name this year (Nicolas Batum? Eric Gordon?) and a couple more next year… maybe even a big name (JAMES HARDEN!?).
But the signing of great players and coaches pales in comparison to the very real possibility that Charlotte could lose its NBA team (again) if the cards don’t fall their way tonight.
Charlotte fans have been nothing but exceptional since the Bobcats came to town. Even though their team has been at the bottom of the league for most of its existence, Bobcats fans have never come last in attendance. They’ve been in the bottom 10 for the past few seasons, though.
If the Bobcats don’t get the number one pick this year and continue to miss the playoffs, it wouldn’t be a shock if those fans stop showing up. After that, it wouldn’t be a shock if Michael Jordan sells the team. After that, it wouldn’t be a shock if the group which buys the team moves it somewhere like Las Vegas, San Diego or St. Louis.
Then, what are the chances Charlotte gets another NBA team? Pretty low.
The Bobcats have a 75 percent chance to not get the number one pick.
Charlotte actually has a better chance at getting the fourth pick than they do at number one (35.8 percent to 25 percent).
Luck. That’s what the Bobcats have based their future on.
Tonight we’ll find out if that was the right move.