Every year we hear the same old story from NBA fans, casual and experienced alike, “The Draft Lottery is rigged, how else could the Cavaliers have gotten all these 1st round picks?!” and there are still plenty of fans who are absolutely convinced of it. Everybody is shocked when the worst team in the league doesn’t win the lottery, forgetting that they only get a 25% chance of winning in the first place. That, and post-hoc explanations of why it’s rigged towards one particular team always make it seem set up, but it’s easy to say that after the fact. For that reason, one of my favourite games to play each year is the one I’m about to do, it’s my reason for every lottery team to get the number one pick. So when the ping-pong balls fall the way of one hopeful city, every other team’s fans can quickly look at this article to find out how they can complain about it. Enough explanation, let’s get into it:
1. Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Love
Wouldn’t it be nice for the Timberwolves to be reimbursed for losing their all-star forward about a year ago in a trade with the Cavaliers. That’d be a nice peace offering by Adam Silver, and also a kick in the balls for Kevin Love, who spent half a decade in the land of 10 000 lakes praying for ping-pong balls, only to have them come up the good the first lottery after he leaves.
2. New York Knicks – ESPN wants them to play well
Nobody likes seeing a New York team playing this badly, especially when it means way too much attention for the team on ESPN and round-the-clock coverage to try and solve their problems. It’s always more fun when the Knicks are a fun team, this season has been a walkover and that’s not entertaining for anybody (except for a few Nets fans who I couldn’t care less about)
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Hope for Tankers
I know that the NBA is trying to fix the tanking problem, but let’s be honest, they only care because it might mean TV sets being switched to another program or less bums in seats in the stadium, so giving the number 1 pick to the posterchild of tanking teams would certainly inspire at least some confidence for fans of teams that aren’t trying to win games of basketball.
4. Los Angeles Lakers – The Lakers Run LA
The lakers are still the most marketable franchise in American sports, so Adam Silver would be silly to do anything but give them the number one pick and get this team out of the dumpster in 2016. The Clippers’ horrific trainwreck of a 2nd Round against Houston just goes to show that the Lakers run Los Angeles, no matter how badly they play. And this is coming from a die-hard Clippers fan.
5. Orlando Magic – Dwight Howard
Okay, it has been years since Dwight left Orlando for the ‘greener pastures’ of Los Angeles, but until this big-market franchise makes its way back into the playoffs, Silver owes them one for Dwight’s escape. Howard’s success in Houston now must only be rubbing more salt in the wounds of tired Magic fans, so it seems fitting to give them the number one pick now Howard has found his way back to the Conference Finals. Plus, the Magic’s last number 1 pick was Howard, and they passed up on the proven ‘Okafor’ to take the other risky option at center. This time it’s Karl-Anthony Towns not Howard.
6. Sacramento Kings – hmm…
Buzz has died down for a move to Seattle, at least for now, so that’s less of a selling point. But George Karl has shown up and it’d be nice to throw him another bone, and also make Boogie happy, hopefully. This is probably the hardest sell for rigging the lottery, so if the Kings win it’s proof they don’t rig the lottery. Or Maybe, that’s just what they want you to think… mwahaha
7. Denver Nuggets – Altitude
If you haven’t heard by now, Denver is pretty high up. So high, in fact, that it’s harder to breathe! This means that a fast-paced team can run circles around their opponents who are absolutely exhausted from lack of oxygen. Now playing this high up comes at a cost, players actually age at double speed playing a mile above sea level, so you need to inject youth into the roster every year. What better way to do this than by giving them the number 1 pick?
8. Detroit Pistons – Darco Miličić
What’s better than watching the Pistons completely screw up another draft pick, gets me every time. You could also make a claim that it’s a reward for them making so many good moves during the season like culling Josh Smith, and compensation for Brandon jennings’ injury.
9. Charlotte Hornets – New Nickname
This is totally not the same Bobcats team that posted the worst ever regular season win-percentage in NBA history only a few years back, this is the new and improved ‘Hornets’, nothing like the old team.
“But the old name for the team was the Hornets”
The real reason they would have the number 1 pick is a quiet word from Michael Jordan, however.
By the way the Bobcats weren’t even in the lottery last year because they made the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, and now look at them.
10. Miami Heat – LeBron James
This is a pretty obvious one, Miami is a huge city with lots of basketball fans, and they were robbed of one of the greatest players of all time for a stupid city in the midwest. They deserve the number one pick because the Heat always have to be good. Bosh went down with a scary injury this year and Dwyane Wade’s robotic knees can only hold out for so much longer before they rust and wash away, they need youth.
11. Indiana Pacers – Paul George
This team was top of the Eastern Conference last year, and because of PG-13’s injury they didn’t even make the playoffs. Tanking was suggested when he first went down with the injury as a method to come back bigger and better next year, but Larry Bird wouldn’t have a word of it. “Good on you Larry” says a pleased silver who avoids another tanking scandal, “You can have the number 1 pick anyway”.
12. Utah Jazz – Utah Jazz
Okay look, let me level with you. It’s Utah. Salt lake City. “The Beehive State”. Need I say more? For most teams, if the draft doesn’t work, Free Agency is always a nice place to pick up proven talent. But when your biggest selling point as a state is more desert, Free Agency just isn’t an option. There should be a special Utah max contract as someincentive to come to Utah.
13. Phoenix Suns – The Rockets of the 10’s
Just like the Houston Rockets of a few years ago, picking up the 9th seed every year and collecting assets, waiting to make a move, this Phoenix team is just waiting to pounce. They’re so close to a blockbuster Harden-like trade that launches them into the playoffs, they just need to wait for the right time and collect a few more young players with talent. The number 1 pick would certainly be nice.
Oklahoma City Thunder – Russ is Bruss
There really is no other explanation, but it just makes so much sense. Westbrook is even the representative for the Thunder at the “drawing” of the ping-pong balls, so when he glances over to Silver and gives him a look through those red-frame glasses, Silver just can’t refuse and gives them the number 1 pick. They’re also a success story for developing teams in small-market franchises, so it’d be great for them to earn themselves another lottery win.
So there you have it, the lottery is rigged, and we’ve got proof here, no matter whose numbers come up. Happy mock drafting once the illuminati decide who gets the first pick!