The Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Hornets finished the 2011-12 season with identical 21-45 records. Due to NBA draft lottery rules, the two teams had to combine 275 lottery combinations and split them, with the winner of a coin flip winning the spare. The winner of the coin flip would also get the first set of combinations sequentially, while the loser would get the next set. These don't matter in probabilities or odds at all, but it's just a reality.
The Hornets lost the coin flip, and got the second set of combinations. The winning combination -- the one that will station Anthony Davis in New Orleans for the next several years -- came from that set.
Had Cleveland lost the coin flip, they'd have two straight No. 1 picks, a rare occurrence that, in this case, would have given the Cavaliers the best young point guard since Derrick Rose and the best young big man since Dwight Howard. It would have been a hellacious rebound from the salad days of the Cavaliers' post-LeBron existence.
Alas, a lucky coin flip turned out to be just the opposite, and New Orleans will reap the rewards.
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