*The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery held Tuesday night. In doing so, they’ve secured the #1 pick in this years draft. It is the 2nd time in the 3 years since LeBron James departure from Cleveland. One can’t help but feel a little suspicious that the NBA may be rigging the draft lottery. Cleveland had just a 16% chance of winning, but that’s all they needed. Well, that and a father/son duo wearing bow ties.
My theory is simple: NBA commissioner David Stern had a hand in relocating LeBron James to Miami. David Stern knew that Dan Gilbert was just the kind of outspoken owner who would’ve loved to expose the league 3 years ago when James took his talents to South Beach. They struck a deal with the draft lottery. Minus LeBron James, Gilbert and the Cavs would no doubt be in the lottery for several years to come. Why not assure Gilbert that the top choice in a draft or two would go to his franchise? It makes too much sense.
David Stern and the NBA office has more control over personnel than many choose to admit. Just look at the weird deals that have occurred in recent seasons. Chris Paul was denied a deal to the Lakers in a very fair trade that Stern vetoed. He then stamped a deal that sent Paul to the LA Clippers for what seemed to be slightly less than what the Lakers were giving up. The Lakers were on the other side of it as well. The notorious Pau Gasol deal was, at the time, considered to be hugely lopsided. Stern had no issues with it.
If the NBA wanted to squash the conspiracy theories, they’d get rid of the draft lottery. However, running a draft from worst team to best team is just too logical. Secondly, they’d stop the powers that be in the commissioner’s office from having so much control over player “relocation.”
*The Orlando Magic had the odds in their favor heading into the lottery, but they will instead draft 2nd. The Washington Wizards made the largest leap. They catapulted 8 positions in the lottery, landing the 3rd pick in the draft. The Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets had the best odds last season and the 2nd best odds this season, yet each time the needy franchise has lost out. They will draft 4th.
*What does the lottery talent look like this year? Well, it may have looked a lot better if top prospect Nerlens Noel out of Kentucky was completely healthy. The one and done Wildcats center is still recovering from a midseason knee injury. Noel is projected as a top tier NBA defensive center with all the raw skills to be molded into something more at the next level. His knee and offensive limitations will raise questions, but there is no more vital position to have an advantage in the league than the 5-spot. After Noel there is a plenty of good talent. Ben McLemore, Otto Porter, Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo are highly coveted talents. Out of that group, no player stands out more than Porter. His size and skill set have NBA All Star written all over him.