Did you know that every NBA Draft lottery is rigged? No really, just think about it logically. Cleveland winning three out of four? There’s NO WAY that could’ve happened naturally. New Orleans getting Anthony Davis? The league wanted to reward a new owner. Kenyon Martin going to the Nets? The league KNEW it was a bad draft so it could afford to throw conspiracy theorists like you and me off of of the scent by giving the first pick to a bad team.
Of course, these are all post-hoc explanations, but damn it, they explain everything!
I’m obviously being facetious. The NBA Draft Lottery is not, nor has it ever been, rigged. Probably. But no matter what the outcome, tinfoil hat-clad fans will claim otherwise and point to X, Y or Z as foolproof evidence for a league-wide plot to send certain players to certain teams.
So why not get ahead of the matter? Let’s figure out why the NBA would rig the lottery for every team in the drawing. That way, when one of them inevitably wins, we’ll have our excuses primed and ready.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Philadelphia 76ers?
To reward them for getting rid of Sam Hinkie! Philly has obviously been in the league’s pocket since December, when they hired Jerry Colangelo at Adam Silver’s behest, and giving them the No. 1 overall pick was all part of their prearranged agreement to end Hinkie’s tankfest.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Los Angeles Lakers?
Because they’re the Lakers! The league ALWAYS cheats to give glamour teams like the Lakers an advantage. That whole Chris Paul kerfuffle? A misdirect. The only reason the Lakers have never won the lottery is that the league wanted to save it for a draft with a sure-fire star like Ben Simmons. Duh.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Boston Celtics?
Yet another glamour team, the NBA wants to set up another several Lakers vs. Celtics finals matchups. That’s why the Lakers jumped two spots for D’Angelo Russell last year, and that’s why the Celtics win this year. In fact, the league knew about Joel Embiid’s injury problems and rigged the 2014 lottery against the Lakers and Celtics to make sure they didn’t get stuck with someone who couldn’t play. It’s just so obvious.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Phoenix Suns?
Because the Suns have the highest odds among teams who have never picked first overall, and are one of the only seven teams (along with Denver, Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma City, Miami and Memphis) to have never done so in their history. This is what the league does. They give the real studs like Michael Olowokandi to big markets like Los Angeles, but when it’s a stiff like Karl-Anthony Towns they just find some team that’s never picked first and send him there. Everyone knows Simmons has no future in the NBA, so the league is just going to placate their fans by giving them a lottery.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Minnesota Timberwolves?
Three No. 1 overall picks in a row on the same team? The league clearly wanted to try that in Cleveland, but when that experiment failed the Timberwolves became the logical choice. After all, who would suspect the NBA of intentionally loading a small-market team like Minnesota? The league is playing a long con here. It’d be brilliant if I weren’t smart and handsome enough to foil their scheme.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the New Orleans Pelicans?
The NBA loves nothing more than creating new contenders out of small markets. After all, people will watch the Knicks and Lakers regardless, but Cleveland needs players like LeBron to keep ratings up. New Orleans is their next pet project. Pair Anthony Davis and Simmons and suddenly the league has created a new super team out of thin air.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Denver Nuggets?
As a reminder to the Knicks not to be stupid. This pick is the final piece of the 2011 Carmelo Anthony trade. If the Knicks have to spend 15 years watching Ben Simmons play for Denver when he should be in New York, it will force them to be more careful with their draft picks and not cave to every trade demand other teams make.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Milwaukee Bucks?
An Australian superstar paired up with a Greek superstar? What better way is there to grow the game internationally than that? The league wants Milwaukee to be in 2016 and beyond what Houston was during the Yao Ming era, a gateway team for international fans to get into the league.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Orlando Magic?
Because nobody would suspect it. And that’s it.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Utah Jazz?
Because advertisers are worried about the moral state of NBA superstars, so sending the No. 1 pick to Utah so he can be converted into a Mormon might just put the next generation back on track.
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Washington Wizards?
The Wizards are a big-market team with a big-market superstar, and since the NBA moved to its current 14-team format the No. 1 pick has never gone to a team slotted lower than ninth. Not only would the 13th-seeded Wizards be by far the lowest to ever win it, but they would do it with the unlucky number 13. It’s the perfect excuse for the league, after all, who would believe that they’d tempt fate by choosing such a cursed number?
Why Would the NBA Rig the Lottery for the Chicago Bulls?
The lowest-seeded team to win a lottery under the current format was the 2009 Chicago Bulls. They haven’t picked in the lottery since, and the league needs to give one of their big-market darlings a boost to make sure they aren’t back here any time soon.
* The Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors (via the New York Knicks/Denver Nuggets) are unlisted as their potential lottery picks cannot end up being No. 1 overall due to various protections.