How the Lottery Would Have Played Out Had David Stern Really Rigged It
When the New Orleans Hornets won this year's NBA Draft Lottery, the rest of the NBA owners cried foul.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports actually penned an article suggesting that the lottery itself may have been fixed by NBA commissioner David Stern, as the league owned the Hornets for most of the season before New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson agreed to buy the team. In Thursday's draft, the team will likely use the No. 1 pick to select forward Anthony Davis out of Kentucky.
The general consensus among NBA owners seems to be that long before the lottery even happened, Stern promised Benson the first overall pick if he would buy the embattled Hornets from the NBA. By assuring that the team would get Davis, the Hornets immediately turned from a fixer-upper into a potential moneymaker.
However, I am here to tell all of you that this theory is complete and utter rubbish. Had Stern wanted to rig the NBA draft lottery, the "conspiracy" wouldn't be that involved.
In fact, if he wanted the Hornets to get the first overall pick, why would Benson even be in the picture? Sure, the Saints owner presents a good cover, but Stern is still the commissioner of the NBA, and he runs it with an iron fist. He could have just given New Orleans the top pick and that would have been it. No questions asked.
On top of that, had Stern really rigged the lottery, I doubt it would have been the Hornets that won it all. Rather, it would have been the Brooklyn Nets.
Look at it this way. All-Star center Dwight Howard has wanted to be traded from the Orlando Magic to the Nets ever since December, but GM Billy King and team owner Mikhail Prokhorov haven't had the necessary pieces to send to Orlando.
If you think about it, the Nets' only hope was to get into the top-five and keep their draft pick, which they had conditionally sent to the Portland Trail Blazers for Gerald Wallace at the trade deadline.
Instead, the Nets got the sixth pick, which immediately went to Portland. But what if they won the top spot?
Did David Stern rig the NBA Draft Lottery?
If you ask me, the prospect of Howard going to Brooklyn in exchange for some players and the first overall pick is more profitable for the NBA than Davis slowly revitalizing the Hornets.
Think about it. Howard gets to go to Brooklyn and open the brand new Barclays Arena alongside Deron Williams as the Nets become a new powerhouse in the Eastern Conference, while Davis gets to go to Orlando and bring a new era of dominance to the Magic.
Call me crazy, but that scenario sounds like more of a moneymaker for the league instead of plugging Davis on one of the worst teams in the league, let alone one that isn't going to be contending for at least a year or two.
Thus, I'm not convinced that this year's draft lottery was fixed. Benson bought the Hornets before the final lottery odds were even out, so how could Stern have promised him the first overall pick when the regular season was still going on and the worst teams were still falling into place?
That said, it's time for NBA owners to stop griping about the results and realize that the draft lottery is a game of chance. If there was more realization and less whining, perhaps some of them would actually field decent teams.
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