2012 NBA Draft: Is It Officially a Rigged Lottery?

Evan LaFranceContributor IIIMay 30, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 02:  The back of the jersey of Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats is seen in the second half as the Wildcats take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the National Championship Game of the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 2, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

At 8:00 tonight, I sat down on my couch and waited for the beginning of the 2012 NBA draft lottery to start. 

It has always been one of my favorite sporting events to watch. There is so much drama in this lottery that you can’t help but to sit on the edge of your seat as the envelopes are opened. Unlike the NFL draft, the viewers and teams have no idea where they will be drafting until the lottery is over.

I have always been a fan of conspiracy theories, and I have always loved the NBA. 

Mixing the two?  Awesome. 

It is safe to say that it has become a tiny subplot to every draft lottery for quite some time. Do I actually believe that the draft is rigged?


However, I’ve always had the sneaking suspicion that the NBA had a tiny bit of a say as to where the top picks would end up. Who hasn’t?

The Internet has gone wild with conspiracy rumors over the past few days.  People actually believed that Anthony Davis, the consensus first overall pick and potential franchise player, would end up in Brooklyn to play with Deron Williams and, eventually, Dwight Howard

Others have said that the league-owned New Orleans Hornets would get the "Unibrow" because of the whole CP3 mess.

Once the envelope was opened and revealed that the Cavaliers would draft fourth overall, I couldn’t help but to roll my eyes.

Come on guys. Again?

When the Hornets were revealed to be the winners of the lottery, I wasn’t upset.  I wasn’t happy for the franchise either.  I was actually a bit mad.

Seriously?  The New Orleans Hornets get Anthony Davis?  The league-owned New Orleans Hornets?

I can’t be the only one who left the program disgusted.  And it’s not the first time that this has happened, either.  After last night’s shenanigans, is it safe to say that the league is officially rigging the draft lottery?

In 2003, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected LeBron James, who just happened to be a hometown hero. 

Rigged? Possibly.

In 2004, the Orlando Magic got the draft rights to Dwight Howard.  Howard was regarded as one of the best center prospects since Shaquille O’Neal.  Shaq started his career with whom, you ask?

Not sold yet? Yeah, me neither.

In 2005 and 2006, two international stars in Andrew Bogut and Andrea Bargnani went to small market teams in Milwaukee and Toronto, respectively.  Not very convincing of a rigged draft.

Did the Wizards win the rights to John Wall by luck?
Did the Wizards win the rights to John Wall by luck?Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

In 2007, it starts to get interesting.  Everyone knew that the top two picks would be Greg Oden and Kevin Durant.  Did the league give the Blazers the top pick knowing that they would screw it up and pass up Durant, who would eventually go to Seattle? Yes!

Okay, I’m kidding. Sort of.

In 2008, Chicago jumped up past everyone to grab their own hometown hero in Derrick Rose.  This allowed a large-market team to rise above a decade of mediocre basketball and become a powerhouse once again.

In 2010, the Washington Wizards won the lottery and rights to John Wall after the whole “guns in the locker room” fiasco.  How many people were surprised by that?

In 2011, the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their beloved LeBron James to the Heat.  Their official lottery pick was number four overall.  However, the pick they acquired from the Clippers just happened to end up as the first pick?

Huh. Raise your hand if you saw that one coming.

Put your hands down, you liars!

Oh, wait. You did see it coming? Yeah, me too.

Maybe I’m just paranoid.  Maybe it is sheer coincidence that these teams are getting the top pick.

The league had one chance to change my mind.  One opportunity to give the pick to a team that wouldn't blatantly scream, “The NBA draft is fixed!”

Instead, the (for now) league-owned New Orleans Hornets will draft Anthony Davis, and the NBA draft lottery continues to look like a show coordinated by Vince McMahon.

Of course it’s not rigged, David Stern. Of course it’s not.