Now, I don’t typically buy conspiracy theories. Trust me, I don’t. But the NBA Draft Lottery? Well, let’s just say some convenient things have happened throughout the years. Like last year, when the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets won the lucky combination of ping pong balls and not our Charlotte Bobcats, who had the worst record during the 2011-2012 season. Saints owner Tom Benson had just agreed to purchase the team, which the league had been trying to sell for a year and a half. Add in the fact that Benson was in attendance and Michael Jordan wasn’t and you can see why people raised questions. Might the NBA have sweetened the deal for Benson by offering a little gift called Anthony Davis?
How about the year before?
It was the first NBA Draft Lottery after Cleveland fans had their hearts ripped out and trampled by LeBron James’ infamous Decision. Of course Cleveland won the magic combination of ping pong balls that became Kyrie Irving. While the worst team in the league has a 25% chance of winning the lottery, it’s only happened twice in the last 19 years. That’s 10.5% of the time. One of those two times, LeBron James was giftwrapped to his hometown of Cleveland. Yeah, I get probability and independent events, blah blah blah. That doesn’t stop me from feeling cheated as a Charlotte fan. Sure, our team has been a comedy of errors on draft night, but we’ve never had the good fortune of being given a no-brainer #1 pick like Anthony Davis or LeBron James.
What about tonight?
The Bobcats, soon to be Charlotte Hornets, have a 19.9% chance of winning the lottery by virtue of being the second worst team in the NBA last season. Orlando, the worst team in the league, has a 25% chance of winning. But Charlotte seems to have the best storyline tonight, much like New Orleans did last year and Cleveland the year before. Michael Jordan will announce the Bobcats-to-Hornets change tonight at 6 pm, just two and a half hours before the lottery drawing on ESPN. Wouldn’t it be all sorts of fun and convenient to get the first pick on the same day we officially celebrate the name change?
It would also be a fitting addition to the the, umm, not so blessed Charlotte Bobcats era to finally win the first pick in a year when there isn’t a guaranteed to superstar. It would be very Bobcats.
So tune in tonight at 8:30. If the Bobcats win, know that the draft is rigged and I’ll smile and say “I told you so.” If the Bobcats lose, well, I’ll just say the draft is rigged and nothing lucky ever happens to the Bobcats.
~Lewis Woodard, WFNZ Sports Radio The Fan 610 AM
Find Lewis on Twitter @LewWoodard