Let's face it, no matter which franchise had landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft lottery, there were sure to be whispers of the event being "rigged" and countless cries for an overhaul of the process.
Congratulations go out to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who once again get to be the victims of such shenanigans and have another shot at an elite prospect of the front office's liking.
But what about the losers? Not the losers that just won on Tuesday night. Which teams were brutalized by the pingpong balls? The answers are both obvious and a bit difficult to nail down, so let's take a look.
It's hard to hate when a team such as Orlando, coming off a 23-59 season, scores two picks in the first round. It's also hard to hate when the picks are No. 4 and No. 12 overall in what is one of the deepest classes in recent memory.
But then take into consideration that those picks could have been much better.
No. 12 is what it is, but the higher pick is what hurts. Going into the event on Tuesday night, the Magic had a 15.6 percent chance to land the No. 1 overall pick, according to Sports Illustrated.
Instead, they tumbled out of the top three.
Paul Kennedy of Fox Sports offers some context as to what could have been:
That's a major issue. Instead of possibly being in play for an Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, the front office has a much more difficult decision and risk on hand with the fourth pick. As Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders notes, the Magic could still get an elite prospect:
The Orlando Magic may be able to land Dante Exum at No. 4. That would be an excellent pick. Great player and fills a need.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) May 21, 2014
Dante Exum, if the Philadelphia 76ers don't swipe him with the third pick, fits a major need. But he's also 18 years old and an unknown after playing ball in Australia.
Again, the Magic will get two great prospects out of the ordeal. But both picks could have been higher, meaning safer picks and production right away. The higher of the picks also needed to be an emphatic one in a league defined by superstars.
Oh, and the Magic had to watch the Cavaliers, a team that entered with a 1.7 percent chance at the No. 1 pick, leapfrog them.
Sorry, but Stan Van Gundy didn't bring any luck with him to Detroit.
The Pistons don't have a first-round pick thanks to...Ben Gordon. LostLettermen put it best on Twitter:
The Pistons gave away that 1st round pick just to get rid of Ben Gordon's awful contract. Two wrongs don't make a right.— LostLettermen.com (@LostLettermen) May 21, 2014
For those who (purposely) forget why the stipulation was in effect on Tuesday night, remember that the Pistons elected to ink a deal involving Corey Maggette and Gordon in order to free up cap space.
For his part, Van Gundy remained upbeat about the whole thing, per the Pistons' official Twitter account:
Stan Van Gundy on the Draft Lottery results: "Tonight's results are disappointing, but not disastrous."— Detroit Pistons (@DetroitPistons) May 21, 2014
More SVG: "We'll also explore other opportunities to use the draft to improve our team - whether that's moving up, moving down or (more)— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) May 21, 2014
What assets Van Gundy thinks he can trade to perhaps move up in the draft is difficult to discern, but it's a safe bet pick No. 38 isn't going to significantly help a roster in need of a ton. There will be some cap space available for free agency, but the holes on the depth chart far outweigh whomever the team can lure to a hapless roster.
Had the Pistons played their cards right over the years, this would be a drastically different story. Instead, Detroit must continue to pay the price for past sins.