As odd as it is, the landscape of the NBA is almost entirely determined by the fall of a couple of ping-pong balls.
Need proof? Two of the remaining four teams are alive only because the lottery gods favored them; San Antonio stole Tim Duncan while Oklahoma City (then Seattle) was lucky enough to walk away with Kevin Durant.
The other two teams left are where they are because they didn't get lucky in the lottery. Had Miami gotten the second or third pick in 2003 instead of the fifth, they wouldn't have Dwyane Wade right now. Boston only acted on its plans to contend after losing the 2007 lottery. Had they won the right to select Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, the Celtics wouldn't have traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
The lottery means everything in the NBA. So every year when the winner is announced, conspiracy theorists claim that it was rigged by David Stern because of some story-line or financial implications involving that team.
I don't think that's true (well, perhaps with the exception of the frozen envelope in '85, but that's an argument for a different day). But it's always fun to wonder. What if Stern actually does rig the lottery? What would the draft order look like? Here's how I think it would happen.
(Author's note: I know that the lottery only determines the first three teams, and I'm changing the order around more than that. It's for effect, I know that some of this is impossible by lottery rules. I'm going to try to keep it close to realistic (the Bobcats won't be picking 14th), but I'm going to take some liberties. Think of this as how likely it is for Stern to rig the lottery for each team).