By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
June 1, 2012
Conspiracy theorists are questioning the legitimacy of the NBA draft lottery after the New Orleans Hornets won the top pick despite having the fourth-best odds. The theory is the league-owned Hornets received the first pick as a bonus to complete the sale of the team to Tom Benson. Kentucky power forward Anthony Davis is the consensus top selection.
Given the number of control methods in place, it’s nearly impossible for the NBA to rig the lottery. Media members and representatives from each lottery team were in a room when the ping-pong ball drawing took place. That’s not to say that skeptical fans wouldn’t find a “conspiracy” with any team that landed the number one pick. For example, Brooklyn was being rewarded for Barclays Center, Sacramento needed #1 for a new arena, and Cleveland to further atone for “The Decision.”
Regardless, perception is reality, and if fans perceive a conspiracy, that’s problem enough. The only way to entirely eliminate doubt is to eliminate the lottery, giving the team with the worst record the first pick.