Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 at 11:21 am  |  39 responses

The Draft Lottery and its Conspiracies

by Marcel Mutoni

Ever since the first NBA Draft Lottery, the infamous 1985 episode in which the Knicks landed the top pick (Patrick Ewing), conspiracy theorists have been convinced that the whole thing is rigged.

History and logic, however, don’t seem to agree. The worst team (or the perceived League darlings) don’t always emerge winners in the annual lottery.

From the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

When the NBA lottery unfolds Tuesday in an NBA Entertainment studio at Secaucus, N.J., it has to be rigged, right? Surely, the NBA wants to send Griffin home or hold back the team with the worst record (in this case, Sacramento) or adhere to a conspiracy theory to be named later?

This year, the Grizzlies have the sixth-best chance (a 7.5 percent probability) of winning the lottery. And that isn’t as bad as it might seem. Only twice have teams with the worst record won the lottery since the current format began in 1994. Since then, the No. 6 team won the lottery as many times as the team with the most Ping-Pong ball combinations has, with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005 and Portland Trail Blazers in 2007 winning from the sixth spot. So if the Griz, who have never won the lottery, come up big this time, no one can blame the NBA. It’s the system that’ll continue to come under fire.

“We’ve made great, great advances,” NBA commissioner David Stern once said regarding the league’s controversial lottery, “and the conspiracy theories haven’t made the same advances.”

One of the League’s basement dwellers will be given a ray of hope tonight in New Jersey, with Blake Griffin being the proverbial savior. Fans of the OKC Thunder are hoping and praying that the conspiracy theorists are right.

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  • Czar Ruke


  • Czar Ruke

    I just don’t understand why they don’t show the actual drawing! Instead they just show the results, which drives the conspiracy train.

  • Bear


  • RarRayJr

    Oklahoma City is gonna get the 1st pick bc Blake griffin is from Oklahoma and went to OU. The NBA loves this and wants the home state star to play for well…his home state bc it’s a good story. Just like what happened with Lebron.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    mhmmmm. i do agree their is some conspricy going on in the NBA.
    anybody wanna jump on my bandwagon of firing DAVID STERN!

  • The Starks Knight

    Imagine the NBA did the home state/country draft rigging for the Raptors? We’d have one of the worst/THE worst team in the NBA. Oh wait, the Raps are terrible without rigged drafts.

  • Benoit Benjamin

    There is a conspiracy. Just look at how successful the Knicks have been since that infamous day back in 85. Oh wait…

  • http://www.slamonline.com GotHandles?

    Knicks are taking Griffin at 1 or Rubio at 2…in my dreams anyway.

  • Josh D

    I’m not a Grizzlies fan, but i like them and i really hope they get number 1 or 2 Conley,Mayo,Gay, and Griffin or a backcourt of Rubio and Mayo? That would be sic

  • Josh D

    Just had a thought isn’t it kind of funny how Kev Love is representing the T’Wolves at the draft, when if they win and draft, he’ll be out of a job,well at least a starting one

  • kwame

    who doesnt want griff to go to okc…

  • kwame

    who doesnt want griff to go to okc…

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    I think I might actually prefer to see Rubio in OKC. Griffin is not quite a Center, so that would leave OKC in a quandry regarding Jeff Green and Kevin Durant, two natural small forwards. Can they start Kevin Durant as the SF, Jeff Green at the PF and Griffin at the C? I’m not sure if that leaves them too small inside to defend big teams, like LA or even Denver.

  • JB

    I could see this year it being rigged to give a terrible team the #1 (ie – Poopramento or the Wiz). I could see the NBA taking one for the team in this not-so-deep of talent pool.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    Ciolkstar: But then what about Westbrook? Would you play Rubio at the one and Westbrook at the two?
    actually, that is sort of a sick idea, so I don’t see a problem with this.

  • Danny W

    I’m a Kings fan, and have been since I saw my first game, and chose the Kings as my team, as I live in the UK, I have no local NBA team as such. I really hope the Kings get Rubio, 1st pick or 4th I’m not too bothered. I reckon a starting 5 of Rubio, K-Mart, JT, and Spencer Hawes will do ok. I know I left out the 3 spot. Thats why there’s a load of room under the cap to make a move on a free agent small forward (anyone know who’s available?). However I must admit to not having seen Blake Griffin play a game.

  • BostonBaller

    You answered your own ? Czar Ruke. conspiracy creates interests and that causes more media which translates into $$$. lol. The Ewing thing was obvious and so were a few others but the latest and greatest was James to Cleveland. Stern is more powerful than the government

  • http://www.sprint.com/sero dma

    It’s a conspiracy. The NBA doesn’t reward the worst team with the #1 pick because Stern doesn’t want to reward tanking. And yes OKC will be getting Griffin.

  • Aaron

    We’ll be covering the lottery tonight at http://www.nbadraftdaycountdown.com . We would love to have all the Slammers around for feedback.

  • ENDS

    Ya’ll dont want us to b in the draft lottery we have a tendency to take the whole damn thing

  • Tyrone Shoelaces

    I’ve been keeping my lips sealed in terms of the conspiracy theories for many years, but if OKC gets Griffin then this date is officially meaningless to me until they make the lottery drawing live.

  • donovan

    Conspiracy or not, the lottery is a crock of $h*t. It’s another piece of why the NFL is run in superior fashion to the NFL in terms of keeping cities’ fan bases from entirely losing interest and being altogether disconnected from the isolated, top-heavy narrative of the league.

  • donovan

    superior fashion to the NBA*****



    blake griffin is headed to indiana…..

  • http://phoenixsunsrising.blogspot.com Hersey

    If the Suns win, Steve Kerr might need to start playing the real lottery

  • http://mvn.com/thenolookpass YungBolo

    It’s too bad David Stern hates the Clippers and they’re in no financial trouble so he’ll save the Pacers with this completely “conspiracy-free” lottery. Complete BS.

  • http://www.ojhoops.blogspot.com the baconator

    It’s a huge conspiracy. David Stern rigged the lottery back in the early 90s so the Celtics wouldn’t get the no. 1 pick and select Tim Duncan, sending them into 10+ years of mediocrity until they could have a miraculous rise and recreate the Big Three for a showdown against Kobe’s Lakers. Damn you Stern!!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com/ Moose

    SacTown needs Griffin. But I’m for OKC here.

  • http://www.broy7.com nate the great

    idc much. i want the knicks to get curry.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    Zee Bobcats will win zee draft lottery! Para BETCATS escribe en la mesa en la clase todos los dias, en sus notas to Jesus, el escribe “Rosas son roja, violeta son azul y nadie brilla como tu”

  • O’Neezy

    CLIPPERS!!??? Why?

  • Flight

    Well looks like the Clippers got Griffin. Have a good time in L.A son.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com BETCATS

    ^I feel bad for that young man’s career. The Clippers will end up taking Thabeet though or trading out. Al Thorton is the future, and so is the rest of that versatile front court they have. Zach Randolph + Chris Kaman + Camby + Thorton + Deandre Jordan = no room for Blake. Lucky for him

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    BETCATS… one would easily choose Blake Griffin over Randolph at the 4 spot. easy.

  • Quail

    im kinda with BETCATS. i dont see the clippers taking a 5th pf/c. i see them trading out.

  • Pingback: SLAM ONLINE | » Clippers Win Lottery

  • Cizzo

    They should do it like NFL, give teams a reward for tanking it thru out the season.

  • Nbk

    Except conveniently enough the only perceived non surefire all stars to go no 1 in the last 8 years (bargnani, and bogut) Have gone to two small market teams (Milwaukee, Toronto) while all other number one picks have either gone to their hometown or to a big market.

  • joel

    grffin to the clippers, rubio to the grizzlies, hill to the thunder, jennings to the kings, and thabeet to the wizards. end of story