The New Orleans Hornets have been through some tough times. It came down to the NBA having to buy the team in order for it to survive. Hornets were involved in that awkward trade including them getting Pau Gasol but then David Stern stepped in and said “Veto!” or something along those lines. Anyway, during this whole time, Stern and the NBA have been accused of tampering with the system.
And then the draft lottery happened.
During the season, especially when it was certain the Hornets would be in the lottery by the end of the season, people kinda poked around the idea that Stern would most likely make sure his team would get a good pick, perhaps the number 1 spot. And that’s what happened. And so, the conspiracy theories can begin (continue?) (again).
Do I think there was some altering going on? I don’t know. I do believe that the NBA is corrupt. Fishy late calls during games that give the favorite team the win, commentators on national TV clearly showing who they would like to see win games, and yes some interesting draft lottery results.
As I mentioned in my NBA Draft Lottery post I wrote yesterday, I remembered in 2010 when Sixers slide up to second pick. But, who got first? The Wizards did. And a little before that, their owner at the time Abe Pollin died. So, was that rigged for Wizards to get something? They weren’t projected to even have a top 3 pick. Still, I don’t know if I’m ready to say that the draft lottery is rigged. I guess it’s because it’s in my nature to give the benefit of the doubt in most cases.
But hey, I’m not a fool. I’m not blind. If it makes a good NBA story, it’s going to be pushed to make happen. That Wizards story was a feel good story. That’s only one example I know. But, let’s look at why this current “rigging” is in fact being called a rig.
For one thing, the NBA has been trying to sell this team. Technically, the new owner has already signed up but the NBA still controls the team. What better way to get a billionaire on board for a rebuilding project than a number 1 pick? Was that pick the icing on the cake? Did that pick make the deal? But, from LeBron James to Greg Oden to Kwame Brown, you never really know what you’re getting as the number 1 player. That goes for #2, #3, #4, etc. But #1 pick always looks good. Maybe trade it to get a superstar (I wouldn’t). The Hornets have a few nice pieces already in place that are young.
In order to see if there really is some work being done on lottery night, you would have to go back to each night and see which teams got the top picks and see if they were involved in somewhat big news during the season. I’m not doing that though. I’ve got better things to do than to hunt down conspiracies in the NBA. Still, when I think back to my own past memories, I would lean towards a rigged draft lottery, just like rigged in-game calls and rigged trades. It’s not as bad as some people would make it out to be but there are plenty of head-scratchers to consider.
If it will make the NBA look good in terms of a nice little feel good story, if it’ll help market the product, I think that it will be pushed to make it happen. I invite you to read around the web. Read sites that cover the Hornets and see their take on it. I invite you to fellow FanSided blog Swarm & Sting to see what they think.