By LeRoy McConnell III
The NBA draft on television has been a fixture in many households since its inception in 1985. The big fish in the draft that year was Georgetown Hoyas center, Patrick Ewing. The New York Knicks was a struggling franchise at the time with a 14% chance of winning the first ever NBA draft lottery. We all know what transpired next. The Knicks became relevant! However, their was speculation all over the the league that the NBA’s sticky fingers had something to do with the Knicks getting the first pick of the draft. Back then, the league used envelopes as their lottery system.
In 1990, the league decided to change its format to a lottery system because franchises were losing games on purpose to receive the higher draft pick. The lottery system consists of 14 numbered ping-pong balls that would be drawn to determine who would win the lottery by non-playoff teams.
Through the years we watch this silly drama during the halftime show of an important playoff game and it always crosses my mind when the number two pick is revealed. “How in the world did this team get the first pick of the draft?”
Conspiracy #1 Orlando Magic
1992 Orlando Magic, an expansion team lands Shaquille O’Neal. I won’t question that, the house that Mickey Mouse built needs to thrive down there in Orlando. The Magic won 41 games in Shaq’s first year in the league. The next draft, Orlando had less than a 2% chance of getting the first pick, and they used MAGIC to get it again! Back-to-back years. Commissioner Stern, something fishy is going on.
Conspiracy #2 San Antonio Spurs
Between the years of 1989-1996, the San Antonio Spurs averaged 54 wins a year. Never finished lower than second in their division. In 1997, David Robinson hurt his back and broke his foot. The Spurs won 20 games that year and landed the Player of the Year, Tim Duncan with a 14% chance. The Boston Celtics had two chances of getting Duncan. They ended up with Chauncey Billups and Ron Mercer. The San Antonio Spurs have won four NBA Championships with Tim Duncan leading the way. Boston had two opportunities to get the first pick of the draft and failed both times. Commissioner Stern! Really!
Conspiracy #3 Cleveland Cavaliers exhibit A & B
The 2003 Cleveland Cavaliers were tied with the Memphis Grizzlies for the worst record in the NBA. Memphis had to give up their pick to the Detroit Pistons that year. This draft is probably one of the greatest drafts in some time. The prize was a can’t miss LeBron James. All you heard was LeBron will go to Cleveland, even before the lottery system took place. When the pick was revealed, Cleveland won and received the first pick. All I could say is “IMAGINE THAT!”
We all remember when LeBron “took his talents to South Beach”, it was WOE IS ME! The city of Cleveland thought the sky was falling. Fans making threats against LeBron, even the Cavaliers owner was threatening this man for leaving. June comes, the lottery happens, and what do you know, Cleveland gets the first pick again and draft the Rookie of The Year, Kyrie Irving. Commissioner Stern, this is becoming a habit!
Conspiracy #4 Chicago Bulls
Deja Vu! The Chicago Bulls in 2008 was the ninth worst team in the NBA with a 1.7% chance of landing the first pick. The Bulls mysteriously won the pick and drafted the hometown kid Derrick Rose. He also won the Rookie of the Year and the 2011 Most Valuable Player.
Conspiracy #5 New Orleans Hornets
First off, I don’t know who owns this team…is it David Stern or Tom Benson? The Hornets have been a lame duck team the past few seasons. Instead of “SAVE FERRIS”, the NBA wants to save the New Orleans Hornets from losing their franchise. David Stern, vetoed a blockbuster deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers. LA may still be playing in the playoffs today if it wasn’t for the Commissioner. The New Orleans Saints owner, Tom Benson, came in and purchased the team, ensuring the community that the Hornets will stay in New Orleans. After last Wednesday night, the Hornets got a great parting gift by landing the number one pick with the opportunity to draft Anthony Davis in this summer’s draft. History has shown that the number one pick will make drastic improvements for the organization. Anyone feel sorry for MJ and the Bobcats? I can’t believe Commissioner Stern wouldn’t help his old foe Mike, then again it seems he had a vested interest in New Orleans. There will be plenty of time to help #23, like next year!
To the Commish
We are well into the twenty-first century and I don’t understand why all the secrecy. This is a society where privacy does not exist. The NBA has been pulling this lottery stunt for years. We the fans, demand the right to see the lottery LIVE. I don’t know what is more covered up, the NBA Lottery or the mystery death of Jack the Ripper! So, Commish lets cut to the chase, ”SHOW ME THE CAR FAX”!
LeRoy McConnell III of “A Fan’s Point of View”, for War Room Sports