Most head-scratching NBA draft lottery conspiracies
With the 2017 lottery taking place tonight, here is a look back at some of the more puzzling moments in the selection process' history.
You can't make everyone happy. Holding a random drawing to determine the order of something as large as the NBA draft is what makes the lottery so polarizing to basketball fans everywhere.
Whether it be jealousy or pure hatred, some just won't believe the results of the NBA draft lottery, which is why we collected three of the biggest conspiracies out there.
1. The Big Apple is gifted the biggest talent
The 1984-85 season saw the Knicks put together their worst record since the 1963-64 season and the NBA might have been keen on getting the NCAA’s best player, Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing, to Madison Square Garden.
Before pingpong balls, envelopes were randomized and drawn to decipher the No. 1 overall pick. That year, it looked as though the winning envelope (which belonged to the Knicks) was conveniently folded in one of the corners (you can see it at the 45-second mark below):
The Knicks got Ewing, but have not won a title since 1973.
2. Magic makes two-straight No. 1 picks appear
After three seasons in the NBA, the Orlando Magic were struggling like many expansion franchises tend to do, but a savior came in 1992 when the team drafted Shaquille O’Neal No. 1 overall.
A team that never won more than 31 games narrowly missed the playoffs in 1992-93 with O’Neal, finishing 41-41. Still, Orlando was somehow awarded the No. 1 pick in the 1993 draft.
The Chicago Bulls were on their way to winning their third-straight title that year and many believe that the NBA was attempting to create a new power that would challenge Michael Jordan and company.
The Magic took Chris Webber out of Michigan but quickly traded him to the Golden State Warriors for Penny Hardaway.
Within two years, Orlando was in the NBA Finals after getting past a Jordan-less Bulls before losing to the Houston Rockets.
3. Bulls get their hometown kid
After Jordan’s departure, the Bulls were the definition of mediocrity. Having made the playoffs just three times in the team’s first 10 years with No. 23, Chicago trudged through a four-year stretch from 1998-2002 in which they won a combined 66 games.
But a rebuild saw all three of those playoff berths come in succession from 2004-2007 before going 33-49, which was only the ninth-worst record in the league.
In that 2008 draft, Chicago native Derrick Rose was the can’t-miss product after carrying Memphis to an appearance in the NCAA title game.
What better way to get the Bulls back to prominence than on the back of their own son?
It was too perfect, which made many scratch their heads when the Bulls improbably got the top pick despite the Miami Heat winning just 15 games.