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Players, team execs, everyone on “lottery was rigged” train

May 31, 2012, 10:05 AM EDT

David Stern, Tom Benson AP

Right now, the NBA still owns the New Orleans Hornets.

The league is still in the process of selling the team to Tom Benson to keep the team in the NBA’s smallest market, but as you read this technically David Stern is the defacto owner of the Hornets.

The Hornets who just won the NBA Draft Lottery. They get franchise-changing star Anthony Davis.

That instantly sounds fishy.

And it’s not just the guy next to you at the bar and people on twitter who think the lottery is rigged, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The reaction of several league executives was part disgust, part resignation on Wednesday night. So many had predicted this happening, so many suspected that somehow, someway, the Hornets would walk away with Davis. That’s the worst part for the NBA; these aren’t the railings from the guy sitting at the corner tavern, but the belief of those working within the machinery that something undue happened here, that they suspect it happens all the time under Stern….

“I bet I could get my owner to tank if I knew the chance of getting the No. 1 pick was 100 percent,” an NBA team president said in an email.

They weren’t alone, 10 players tweeted about the conspiracy, compiled by IamaGM.

We humans love a good conspiracy, so there will always be a guy on the grassy knoll.

Personally, I don’t buy it. I’m not a conspiracy guy in general, and I don’t buy this. Read up from SI on how it goes down in the room — there are team execs and media in there.

Thing is, I can make the “lottery is rigged” argument for pretty much every team in the lottery this year (something Deadspin pointed out yesterday before the lottery took place). The Bobcats had the best odds, but clearly Stern wanted to help out Michael Jordan. If it was Cleveland it was more LeBron James payback. If the Nets win it’s because the league wants a big star in Brooklyn. If the Kings win it’s to keep a team in Sacramento. If the Warriors win it’s to help their new ownership move to San Francisco. And so on and so on. You were going to cry rigged no matter who won.

Also, if the NBA were making a smart business move, it wouldn’t send a big star in the making in Davis to its smallest market. To an owner who has an NFL team in the middle on of the bigger sports scandals in years. Finally, this could be a fraudulent crime and if one of the other owners is really convinced they can literally make a case of it. But as with all conspiracies, here just is never proof.

But Woj is right about this — the feeling that the lottery is rigged by the over controlling Stern is a problem. A big problem. And it’s not just fans who think it’s rigged, it’s people who dedicated their lives to the game and NBA.

That’s about the integrity of the sport. That’s real trouble.

  1. cantonbound13 - May 31, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    The NBA is rigged. Guaranteed the officials will make sure LeBron gets a ring this year.

    • blueintown - May 31, 2012 at 10:12 AM

      Then please stop watching it and commenting on all affiliated websites.

      • cantonbound13 - May 31, 2012 at 10:45 AM

        I love to irritate sensitive Heat fans. Wahhhh, why doesn’t anyone like us, wahhhh

      • blueintown - May 31, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Hahaha…wrong bar, buddy. I’m a lifelong Bulls fan. But when the Bulls got knocked out in the first round, I didn’t blame a rigged league or the officials, I blamed the loss of their one true all-star and an over-valued supporting cast. All it takes is opening your damn eyes and acknowledging reality.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 31, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        And he’s from Miami! His nickname honors Dan Marino! I can’t stop using exclamation points!!!!!

      • blueintown - May 31, 2012 at 3:11 PM

        Are we sure he’s not a Bears fan who greatly overvalues Johnny Knox?

    • 20dollardinners - May 31, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Which is way he has won 0 already and the WCF is two of the smallest markets. lol! I am sure David Stern desperately wants the Spurs in the finals.

    • pensfan603 - May 31, 2012 at 10:08 PM

      if it was that rigged the western confrence finals would have jobe and the lakers in it that is a more intising match up for fans, the nba TELLS refs that they should call it easy on lebron, cause the nba makmes more money when lebron is on the court and getting more points.

  2. cakemixa - May 31, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Good lord. People act like the Hornets had a 0.006% chance to win or something. I mean, they were only the 3rd/4th worst team in the NBA this year. All of these butthurt executives/players/GMs/fans would have no problem if their team had won. Get over it.

    • pensfan603 - May 31, 2012 at 10:12 PM

      what makes it fraudelent is when yuo look at how this year with the saints scandel the hornets have an even better chance of gaining fans, last year the cavs where doing to lose fans if they didnt get another superstar, the year before you have the wizards in one of the biggest markets in the nation with no good teams *remember we are looking back to years. and need something to cheer for if they get wall and get good they would drive ratings and money for the nba. just look back season by season the team that would produce the most revenue increase with the new player in there town gets him.

  3. 1972wasalongtimeago - May 31, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    There’s not a team in the lottery that if they won you couldn’t make an argument that their winning wasn’t fixed.

    Besides, wasn’t the league was too busy schemeing up ways to make sure the Heat won last night by the refs squeezing one missed call into 53 minutes of play?

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 31, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      One? You’re joking.

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 31, 2012 at 8:18 PM

        Where was the conspiracy during last years Finals? Could have used the help.

    • drunkenjunk - May 31, 2012 at 9:25 PM

      oh stfu, you got plenty of help last year. Thats all that team did last year in the finals was flop. You got a bunch of horrible calls your way. The Mavs were just better.

      • pensfan603 - May 31, 2012 at 10:16 PM

        where is the conspiracy???? Dallas is what a top 10 15 market that had a smallesk fan base with them doing good the tvc ratings in dallas probably rocketed during the next season. Think of it this way before they won the finals they were not on abc game of the week ever. the year after they won they were put on i think it was 4 times. Also i believe the refs are told to let calls go on superstars but that doesnt always predict the out come i think the league does what they can to make sure the big market teams win but they cant always or it would be to obvious.

      • drunkenjunk - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        i’m saying miami still got a lot of calls last year that they shouldn’t have. Just like 06 finals.

  4. spellingcopfather - May 31, 2012 at 10:11 AM

    I seen the picture of Anthony Davis wearing a Hornet hat, early yesterday. so whats really going on?????

  5. hookem6903 - May 31, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I am always curious as to why sports fans across the country always have such negative things to say about Roger Goodell, when David Stern is the one they should really be focusing their negativity on. This guy is like a mob boss. If you question one of his hench-men (officials) he fines you $25,000. This guy has “corrupt” written all over him.

    • 00maltliquor - May 31, 2012 at 1:07 PM

      I’ve been saying that for a decade bro!

  6. wlubake - May 31, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Just hire an independent accounting firm to manage the lottery, like the Academy does with the Oscar voting. Erase all doubt and be done with it. Then we should cut the field of conspiracy theorists down to just those wearing the tin foil hats.

    • cakemixa - May 31, 2012 at 10:29 AM

      They actually do already…

      “The actual Lottery procedure will take place in a separate room prior to the national broadcast on ESPN with NBA officials and representatives of the participating teams and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young in attendance.”

      • 700levelvet - May 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        LOL………..As if accounting firms aren’t in it for the Money……..Ever hear of Arthur Anderson?

      • teambringitstrong - May 31, 2012 at 11:26 AM

        700levelvet – May 31, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        LOL………..As if accounting firms aren’t in it for the Money……..Ever hear of Arthur Anderson?
        Actually it’s Arthur AnderSEN, simpleton.

  7. 700levelvet - May 31, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    It’s been rigged since Ewing went to the Knicks……….Stern is a snake oil salesman………

  8. MT1776 - May 31, 2012 at 10:38 AM

    This is like the hunger games all over again.

  9. BigBeachBall - May 31, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    became suspicious of lottery rigging in the draft immediately after “the decision”. after losing lebron to free agency, Cleveland somehow ended up with the 1st and 4th pick overall…. that didn’t seem legit….

  10. acdc363 - May 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I’m not crying rigged. I doubt I’m the only one.

  11. theghostofberniekosar - May 31, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Of course the lottery is rigged. But so what? Stern sends the top pick where it needs to go to most help the league. Not always what’s best for marketing or bottom-line dollars, but for the long-term health of the NBA in general.

    And I’m OK with that.

  12. tomtravis76 - May 31, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    new orleans is just going to be developing Davis for a large market team.

  13. muskyhunter2542 - May 31, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    2001 Eastern Cont. Finals!!!! Need I say more?

    • blueintown - May 31, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      Yes, you do. What are you talking about?

      • muskyhunter2542 - May 31, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        Bucks-Sixers 2001 Eastern Conference Finals“ It behooves everybody for the league to make more money, and the league knows that Philadelphia is going to make more money with L.A. than we would with L.A.
        —Milwaukee Bucks star Ray Allen, before Game 6 of the 2001 Eastern Conference Finals.

        In 2001, the Milwaukee Bucks played the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The small-market Bucks (who had not even been featured on NBC that year prior to the second round of the Playoffs) did not have any “big-time” stars, with the exception of Ray Allen (who, despite being popular, was not in the upper-echelon of NBA players in terms of endorsements). Their opponent that year, the 76ers had the polarizing and popular Allen Iverson, who had a multitude of shoe deals and mainstream recognition. The Sixers also featured that year’s winners of the MVP award in Iverson,[41] Defensive Player of the Year award in Dikembe Mutumbo,[42] Sixth Man of the Year award in Aaron McKie,[43] and Coach of the Year award in Larry Brown.[44]

        The series had several calls deemed dubious by the Bucks and their fans. Glenn Robinson, Sam Cassell and George Karl joined Allen in complaining about the officiating and hinting that the league was against them. Karl and Allen were both fined for their comments.[40] In Game 6 of the tensely-fought series, Bucks forward Scott Williams threw an elbow at Iverson and was subsequently suspended for the deciding Game 7. After the Bucks lost Game 7 on the road, Sports Illustrated columnist Marty Burns insinuated that the suspension may have been a form of payback by the league:

        “ Williams’ elbow to Iverson’s chin warranted the flagrant 2 ruling, which kept Williams out of Game 7, but the Bucks’ public airing of such potentially damaging charges to the NBA probably didn’t help their case.

      • blueintown - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        C’mon, man. Philly won that series because – as you said – they had the MVP, the defensive MVP, the best 6th man, and the best coach. Clearly they were a better basketball team.

    • sasquash20 - Jun 1, 2012 at 2:20 AM

      Whaaaaaaaa! What a little bitch you are. You had two stars on your team. You got beat by a better team. Live with it. Iverson got raped almost every time he touched the ball and only about half the time it was called.

      • muskyhunter2542 - Jun 4, 2012 at 9:52 AM

        You must misremember?!?!?

  14. mungman69 - May 31, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Where is the proof of a rigging? Where is the proof that Stern wants Miami to win. Stop the crying.

    • pensfan603 - May 31, 2012 at 10:21 PM

      where is the roof if Miami wins you get higher ratings in the finals if you get higher rating in the nba finals you make money. Stern loves money

    • drunkenjunk - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      have you watched the last two miami-boston games? that should answer your question.

  15. astrosfan75956 - May 31, 2012 at 11:38 AM

    It is rigged, Stern has been rigging the draft since the Ewing draft. YouTube it for further review.

  16. scrot7 - May 31, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Anthony Davis = Unibrow of the year.

  17. neelymessier - May 31, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    The worst record Bobcats only had a 25% chance of landing the worst pick, meaning odds were 75% someone else would get it. So a team with about half the chance of the Bobcats got it. Big deal, it wasn’t a team way down the list, but that will happen too every now and then.

    Look at it this way, the odds of the worst team NOT getting #1
    1 year 75%
    2 years straight 56%
    3 years straight 42%
    4 years straight 32%
    5 years straight 24%

    so 5 years in a row with all worst teams not getting #1 is about same odds as any one worst team getting it.

    do the math or take a probability class.

  18. chiadam - May 31, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    Was Stern rigging the lottery any more blatant than Wade slapping Rondo in the face and not getting whistled? Look, it’s not that crazy to believe the league fixed the lottery. They have CLEARLY been swinging the outcome of games for decades now. That’s just fact. The 2002 Kings – Lakers series was borderline criminal.

  19. klownboy - May 31, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Well, even if it was rigged, that’ll learn Jordan. Karma can bite you in the backside sometimes…

  20. boilerup1869 - May 31, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    The Bobcats had a 25% chance of winning the lottery.

    That also means they had a 75% chance of NOT winning the lottery. So, if you ran the lottery an infinite number of times, it’s most likely that they would not get the first pick of the draft around 75% of the time.

    Why is it such a shock that they didn’t win it?

    Every “disgusted” NBA owner/GM/player needs to understand how these concepts of probability work before getting worked up and throwing around the word “rigged”.

    • BrownsTown (the 1st one, not the new guy using my name) - May 31, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Wrong stat…..everybody is concerned with New Orleans winning the pick, in which case you should say that New Orleans had an 85.2% (13.7% + 1.1%) chance of NOT winning the #1 pick.

  21. chargerdillon - May 31, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    The single and only reason you have this lottery system in place instead of the last ranked team getting the first overall pick is so that the game and talent itself can be controlled by outside influences ie David Stern. Whether the system is crooked or not, the only reason they use the template they do is so they can control everything.

    The bad teams remain bad, the good teams remain good, and the mediocre teams rotate among each other with very little real parity. Why else do you think the Lakers and Celtics hold the majority of all championships in the NBA.

    Until there is a legitimate system that is really fair, how could anybody think it’s not crooked

  22. deshackle - May 31, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    The Lakers attempted 40++ free throws in one playoff game.

    • deshackle - May 31, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      “That’s about the integrity of the sport. That’s real trouble.”

    • sydneysachs - May 31, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Right, deshackle… the same Lakers who Stern & Co. screwed out of the Chris Paul deal. Try to make that one jive with your (ever-lame) conspiracy theory.

      • deshackle - May 31, 2012 at 7:22 PM

        I did not use the term conspiracy, I said integrity. You threw out conspiracy, and then further laminated the term by bring up the Chris Paul issue.

      • pensfan603 - May 31, 2012 at 10:26 PM

        if you add paul you dont get a big rating gain cause they already get a good number send him to to the clippers you get a good ratings gain. Blake has what 5 6 years left on hsi contract and if he stays with the clippers and the team sucks ever year that is a lose for stern you give him paul make lob city BOMB ratings boost money in sterns pocket.

  23. ummnah - May 31, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    It sure seems like its rigged. Every year you can make a case the lottery was rigged. I am a Bulls fan and I’ll be the first one to call bs on the fact that the Bulls legitametly won the Lottery to get Rose. They had a 1% chance or something close to that of winning the top pick and conveniently happens the year the best high school player from Chicago since Garnett is slated to go #1 in the draft.

  24. drewsylvania - May 31, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Does Stern look like an NBA fan? No–he looks like a mob toadie. And I think he’s playing the part.

  25. 00maltliquor - May 31, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    As soon as the Hornets were in that grand finale top 3, I think everyone watching television knew exactly where that #1 was going to whether you believe in conspiracy or not…

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