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Rip Hamilton one of many players who express skepticism at lottery results

Dan Feldman wrote a great post yesterday, rationally laying out the absurdity of all of the ‘lottery is rigged’ talk that’s out there. Then, the worst possible scenario happened for a league that always seems to have the worst possible coincidences happen at the worst possible times: New Orleans, still technically league-owned though in the process of being sold to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, went out and won the No. 1 pick.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reported that skepticism about the Hornets winning isn’t just happening among fans — Woj’s sources are reportedly team or league employees who think something shady happened. An abundance of players also immediately thought ‘conspiracy,’ including former Piston Rip Hamilton. Here’s what he tweeted:

Who thinks the lottery was rigged.

I still tend to err on the side of no conspiracy. I grew up in a family that believes in every grassy knoll, UFO encounter and Tupac is alive story out there, so I tend to be a little cynical when it comes to conspiracy talk. But last night was undoubtedly a bad outcome for a league that I’m sure wanted to avoid this type of coverage. And it’s surely a worse outcome that some of the people fanning those conspiracy flames are league employees and players themselves.

15 Comments

  • May 31, 20121:19 pm
    by Jeremy

    Reply

    I vote on the side of it being quite the coincidence; however, it wouldn’t surprise me if we find out 5 years down the road that it was rigged to a) complete the selling of the team (was it worked out in advanced? I don’t really trust Benson after all the Saints have done recently) b) keep the franchise in NOLA by giving it another potential star player and c) make up for his nixing of the CP3 to Lakers deal.
    Don’t forget that this isn’t the first time Stern has been accused of fixing the lottery (See Patrick Ewing Draft). I’ve often felt he has played puppet master on quite a few other occassions, but we needed get into those. Just don’t trust the man, maybe its his ‘stache?

    • May 31, 20122:12 pm
      by TheDude

      Reply

      “this isn’t the first time”
      -that’s correct, it isn’t. I try my hardest not to believe this stuff, but just last year, Cleveland winning the lottery with such bad odds (not their actual pick which was 4th, but the one they get via trade) a year after the departure of LeBron James.
       
      Anyway, there isn’t much the NBA can do or say to defend the integrity of the league, they try to say the league got its integrity back when Tim Donaghy was fired, but that’s completely false. He wasn’t the only bad egg, he was just the first one who got caught and was used as the scapegoat for all past and future “fixings” of NBA games. Notice how the NBA threatened the first publisher Donaghy had for his book? Donaghy wasn’t the first and will certainly not be the last crooked official.

      • May 31, 201211:13 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        There are almost certainly crooked people in the NBA. But how would the lottery be rigged? There is a representative from every team watching the hoppers spew their ping pong balls. They saw the entire process. If there was tampering, someone would blab.

        • Jun 1, 201210:44 pm
          by Chris H

          Reply

          There would be several ways in increase the odds of certain number conbinations, from weighing balls differently or sizing them differently, or even being able to change the way the discharge on the machine works.  I am also not sure how the number combinations were chosen for each team.  Also in a league that no longer has regional draft picks it was kind of nice that LBJ and Rose happened to land on teams that would love them right from the start.  I’m not really a conspiracy theorist, but there were plenty of little coincidenses out there before Stern decided that several things this year were going to happen behind closed doors. Seriously a horrible decision.

          • Jun 1, 201211:46 pm
            by tarsier

            Those possibilities are of course possible. But any reasonable risk/reward analysis would quickly show that they are horrible ideas. Unless the tampering was really severe, Stern would only slightly increase the odds for NO. So it makes for a hard secret he has to cover up while probably not accomplishing anything. And if the balls were heavily weighted or whatever, everyone in the actual lottery room would figure out in no time as the same combination (or very similar ones) comes up over and over.

            It always comes back tot he fact that while there may be incentive to rig things like games or the lottery, that incentive is relatively microscopic compared to the enormous risk that would accompany being found out for tampering. If you really do believe that Stern is cheating the system, you have to believe he is a total idiot.

  • May 31, 20122:43 pm
    by Casey

    Reply

    SO Fixed! Come on, don’t trust anyone, we are being lied to on so many levels fom the people in high places. Wake Up.

    P.S. draft Henson

    • May 31, 20125:20 pm
      by sop

      Reply

      boo Henson. don’t draft need. draft best player available. PJIII, Sullinger, and Lamb are all clearly better all around players than Henson.

  • May 31, 20123:58 pm
    by Mark

    Reply

    c’mon everyone knows by now the league is fixed. Not just the lottery, but the whole league, the games, the championships, the trades (basketball reasons), where the FA’s land, its all a big  orchestrated show.

    I still watch casually and follow because it is still entertaining and something to talk about and watch on tv during the week. And I watch movies that I know are fictional, because the storylines are good, and I’m curious to find out the endings. Lets face it, its not like the ‘reality shows’ on tv are real either, and at least the NBA is live action entertainment and more exciting than that stuff…but I’d never get emotionally invested in it, because there’s no doubt in my mind the whole thing is a charade.

    • May 31, 201211:16 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Do you have any idea how hard it would be to keep that huge a conspiracy under wraps? It would stay a secret for a week, tops.

      • Jun 1, 201210:45 pm
        by Chris H

        Reply

        the NBA pays people off or kills them so everything stays a secret :o.

        • Jun 1, 201211:40 pm
          by tarsier

          Reply

          The former solution may work for a little while but only delays the inevitable. The latter solution simply replaces one person who must keep a secret with another.

  • May 31, 20127:45 pm
    by neutes

    Reply

    The thing that gets me is that only a fool would buy the Hornets. They just aren’t a profitable franchise to own. But it’s not like you get to bitch about it because something with a 1.7% chance of happening didn’t happen.

  • May 31, 20128:09 pm
    by Josh

    Reply

    Alright, maybe we shouldn’t jump into conclusions… but if Dwight decides he’s leaving the magic next year, should we anticipate that the Magic will win the lottery next year?

  • May 31, 20128:52 pm
    by Roit

    Reply

    It’s so unfair. U C the last time our Pistons won the lottery was 60′s and we picked BL16. This was the only time that we won the lottery.  Oh maybe if our team is on sales now, we can will the lottery. At least top 3 pick.       However, we need to accept the fact now that we can’t change it.   We should pick a big man. Above all, we can’t lost the best available player even if he doesn’t fit us.

  • Jun 1, 20129:34 am
    by D. Stewart

    Reply

    The problem (as I see it) isn’t that David Stern fixed (or didn’t fix) the lottery. It’s our need to hide our processes and procedures behind closed and locked doors that we need to examine. It’s not even about whether a conspiracy actually took place. It’s the “perception” (especially among America’s youth) that a conspiracy is possible and often probable that needs to be addressed. From O.J. Simpson … to the collapse of the American banking industry … to our politicians and their negative election tactics … our kids simply don’t trust us anymore. In their minds we lie. It’s as simple as that. Adults lie. And any hint of wrong doing reinforces that impression and that mistrust. In a time when everything is shaded gray and nothing appears black and white, we have a huge obligation to our children to go “overboard” in showing them that we are not phoney … that we are not cheaters … and that we do not lie. The NBA needs to bring their annual lottery process out into the open. The ping-pong balls need to be the size of basketballs and our kids need to see them being placed in a giant Plexiglas hopper on their tv screens and then pulled out visibly (one by one) so that there’s absolutely no question whatsoever about the “honesty and integrity” of the process … or about the honesty and integrity of the adults behind the process.
    And yes … it’s a shame that it needs to happen this way, because after all it’s “just basketball,” “just a game.” But it (like baseball and all the other national sports) represents us and says something extremely important about who we are as a people and what our core-values look like. If there’s even the slightest hint that Commissioner Stern and the NBA may have cheated: if there’s even a remote inkling that something’s not on the up and up, it should be fixed, and fixed immediately. Our kids need to know that the “basic rules of life” still apply … and that integrity and fair play are still sitting right there (out in the open) on the top of the rules’ list. We cannot continue to let them “suspect otherwise.” Our processes need to be transparent and obvious. Adults teach. Children learn. And they learn by our example. Let’s get our examples out in the open for everyone to see. Don’t leave our kids wondering. Let’s make sure our processes and procedures (even in sports) are 100% visible and transparent. Every time we hide behind locked doors and say, “Just trust us” … we teach our children to do just the opposite.

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