As soon as the New Orleans Hornets snagged the #1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, the Internet figuratively exploded with conspiracy theories. Today, the fans and media have been abuzz with talk of how this affects the NBA. The fans are the ones shouting that the league rigged the lottery to give the team they still own (the new owners do NOT own the team yet) the top pick while the media are taking a more subtle approach of saying that it gives the appearance of impropriety. Personally, I just find this very entertaining. Of all the teams that could have won the top pick, the one that would have inspired the most conspiracy talk did in fact win it. However, they are not the only team that would have inspired this talk. Excluding the Hornets, here are the most likely conspiracy theories that would have been discussed if other teams had won the lottery.
They were the most likely team to win the lottery but only 3 teams have won the lottery when they had the worst record since the lottery was put into place. If the Bobcats had taken the top pick, the conpspiracy talk would have centered around the league desiring to help out Michael Jordan, arguably the best player of all time, to rescue the abysmal franchise that he owns. The league wants MJ to succeed but the Bobcats set the record last time for the worst regular season winning percentage in NBA history.
Had the Nets won the lottery there would be two conspiracy theories. The first would be how the NBA wants Anthony Davis to go to a big market and to give the Nets a young star in their new city to help keep Deron Williams around. The next would be in a similar vein of the league trying to help out the Nets by giving them an attractive trade chip to send the Orlando Magic in exchange for Dwight Howard. Either way, the Nets winning the top pick would have created nearly as much talk as the Hornets.
Had the Kings secured the #1 pick, the talk would center around the league helping out the Maloofs in their quest to get a new stadium built in Sacramento. Talks have broken down and the future of the team in the city is shaky, landing a potential franchise cornerstone in Davis would have helped the buzz for the team and possibly improve their chances of getting a stadium deal worked out.
The Cavs getting the #1 pick two years in a row after the departure of LeBron James would have stirred up its own storm of controversy as well. The angle for this scenario would be the league continuing to help rebuild the Cavs after their collapse at the hands of “The Decision.”
I could make up conspiracy theories for nearly every team in the lottery had they won the #1 pick and there are certainly people who would have been arguing for it no matter what the result was. Do I believe the NBA rigged the lottery to award the pick to the Hornets? No, I do not. Do I believe that the league needs more transparency with the lottery instead of conducting it behind closed doors? Yes, I do.
Regardless of whether you believe the fix is in, the Hornets winning the pick was the best case scenario if you’re a fan of conspiracy theories and drama. I’ll work on previewing what moves are available or likely during the Jazz offseason soon now that they lost out on a 1st round draft pick this year. In case you’re wondering, the GSW pick is top-7 protected in 2013 and top-6 protected in 2014.