Alleged conspiracies continuously pile up to discredit and lend doubt to the fairness of the NBA Draft Lottery. This probably isn’t the first time you’ve heard this… unless you’re completely oblivious and enable serious web browsing filters. Well, if it is, pull the wool from your eyes. In my opinion, there’s some shady business going on behind the scenes.
1. Orlando Magic land first-pick with 11th worst record in 1993
With only a 1.5% chance of winning the no. 1 pick, Orlando hit the jackpot – purely based on luck, right? Maybe. After a couple years of expansion that saw 4 teams join the NBA in 1988 and 1989, I’m sure David Stern was interested in an expansion team success story. The Magic earned 2 number 1 picks in a row with the first landing Shaquille O’Neal and the second pick holding the title of having the lowest percent chance to ever win the no. 1 pick. This would ensure an additional star player which would make the Magic more successful and prove Stern’s expansion efforts a success.
2. ‘Worst Team Ever’ Charlotte Bobcats lose out on first pick in 2012
With a 2011-2012 record of 7-59, the Charlotte Bobcats earned the official title of ‘worst team ever’ during the lockout-shortened regular season. One would assume the first pick would be a lock with a 25% of winning…nope. The New Orleans Hornets earned the first pick with a 13% chance. Interesting. The then league-owned Hornets lost their star player Chris Paul in 2011 to the Los Angeles Clippers through a highly scrutinized and high profile trade. Consolation prize?
3. Cleveland Cavaliers win the first pick in 2011
When LeBron James left Cleveland to take his talents to South Beach, he left the Cavs reeling. But with a traded NBA Draft Lottery pick from the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cavs now had two opportunities at the no. 1 pick. And land it they did with the Clippers’ traded pick…that had a 2.8% chance of winning. The consolatory number 1 pick should make up for losing one of the NBA’s best players and that’s how the ripples caused by “The Decision” come to an end, right?
4. Cleveland Cavaliers win the first pick in 2013
While the chances of Cleveland winning the number one pick increased dramatically compared to 2011, could this still be part of a bigger plan? It is a little more plausible that they ‘won’ the NBA Draft Lottery number 1 pick based on their 15.6% chance.
5. Philadelphia loses out on the first pick in 2014 to Cleveland
The Cavs had a 1.7% chance to win the first pick of the NBA Draft Lottery. 1.7%. The poor Philadelphia 76ers, who didn’t tank to have the worst 2013-2014 record in basketball (19-63), were awarded with the 3rd pick in the lottery. Cue the LeBron James ‘Decision’ conspiracy.
Could these picks be part of a deal to get LeBron James back in Cleveland now that their team will be loaded with first-pick talent? After winning back-to-back championships with the hopes at a third still alive, the Heat (and NBA) have achieved great success with the ‘Big 3’. Could this be part of a bigger plan? It’s rather convenient that James could enter free agency this summer.
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