by Tommy Gimler
Well, would you look at that. Amazingly, shockingly, surprisingly, the New Orleans Hornets pulled a rabbit out of the hat last night and landed the first pick in this summer’s NBA Draft even though three teams had better odds than them.
It’s almost as surprising as the Chicago Bulls somehow finding a way to grab hometown boy Derrick Rose with the first pick four years ago even though they only had 1.7% chance of doing so. Or how about the chances the Cleveland Cavaliers land Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving last season just one year removed from “The Decision.”
Or who can forget the 1985 Draft that saw the New York Knicks “win” the rights to Patrick Ewing? Watch the video below and note two things:
1) Every envelope is casually thrown in the drum like me throwing singles at a stripper’s bruises. Well, except for that fourth one which is for some reason thrown against the drum to, I don’t know, mark it?
2) Well, there’s the mark. Pause the video at 44 seconds. Notice anything different about the envelope that David Stern is about to awkwardly grab and flip over because he knows that this is the one with the Knicks logo on the inside of it?
So, here it is: David Stern fixes the NBA Draft Lottery. He fixed it for the Knicks in ’85. He did it for Chicago in ’08. He did it last year to get Dan Gilbert to shut his pie hole. And he did it again last night because he promised Tom Benson he would get the number one pick if he bought the Hornets.
But who am I to say it? I write songs about huffing jenkem and stories about bath salts. But here’s what one high-ranking NBA executive told Yahoo! Sports after New Orleans was awarded the number one pick:
“It’s such a joke that the league made the new owners be at the lottery for the show. The league still owns the Hornets. Ask their front office if new owners can make a trade right now. They can’t. This is a joke.”
Yahoo! Sports continued with their own take on the situation:
This is the problem for Stern, and will always be: Within his own league, they’re dubious about him, his underlings, about the centralized power structure in New York. Stern created the mayhem of the Hornets season – the vetoed Paul trade that disrupted the operations and balance of several teams – and the fallout never relented. Here comes Tom Benson now, whose NFL organization is mired in one of the great institutional scandals in pro sports history, walking into New York for the draft lottery with a bad team, in a bad arena, and leaving with a franchise star.
Yes, the Hornets are staying in New Orleans, and that’s wonderful news for the people there, for the NBA. All around the league, though, everyone will forever wonder: At what cost?
Who knows? Maybe I’m way off on this. Maybe this is what happens because there is a draft “lottery.” As long as you have a ping-pong ball in there, you have a shot. Or maybe Michael Jordan gambled all of his ping-pong balls and the Bobcats’ 25% chance at Anthony Davis away in a high-stakes poker game last Thursday night…