FanSided Video: Let’s talk NBA Draft Lottery conspiracy theories


The NBA Draft Lottery is everyone’s favorite conspiracy event. In about two weeks, we will have a fresh story to tell as the NBA Draft Lottery approaches.

It is May. That means 17 days until the NBA Draft Lottery. The next big day on the Orlando Magic’s calendar. The Playoffs do not matter, just the fate of ping pong balls bouncing in a little drum.

As Zach Lowe wrote for Grantland last year, he has never seen so many general managers — men who look at the odds and hedge their bets and take out as much certainty as they can — wringing their hands over something so silly as drawing the right combination of four numbers.

The Orlando Magic enter this Draft Lottery with a 0.8 percent chance of landing the top pick and 2.9 percent chance of getting into the Top 3. In all likelihood, the Magic will pick 11th.

Of course, no team knows NBA Draft Lottery luck quite like the Magic.

The NBA changed the Lottery rules when the Magic had one ping pong ball in a drum of 66 and it somehow found its way to the top to deliver the Magic Chris Webber — later traded for Anfernee Hardaway.

Of course, everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. And in the latest video from FanSided, they explore the coincidences that seem to keep popping up at the NBA Draft Lottery. How does Anthony Davis end up with the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets (actually the league had just sold them to Tom Benson)? How do Derrick Rose and LeBron James happen to end up at home?

And, of course, was that envelope really frozen to deliver Patrick Ewing to New York?

The Magic are not exempt from this either. In their back-to-back lottery wins, there are a few raised eyebrows still. As Pat Williams recalled on a recent episode of ESPN Afternoons with Scott Anez on ESPN Orlando, as he won his second Lottery, he had to watch his reaction as not to draw the ire of his fellow general managers:

Yes, there was some unease. During that interview in a previous part, Pat Williams and John Gabriel admitted the phones were not working in the Orlando Arena when the Shaquille O’Neal pick came across and they had to rely on Alex Martins being an early adopter of the cell phone to deliver the pick in time.

Conspiracy indeed.

The conspiracy here is that the Magic were an expansion franchise and the expansion luster was beginning to wear off. The Magic, as This Magic Moment relates, went through a terrible season in 1992. Orlando finished with 21 wins, a 10-win decrease from the year before, and saw average attendance begin to stagnate.

The thought here is the NBA delivered to Orlando a true star — and delivered the third overall pick to Minnesota Timberwolves who picked Christian Laettner; the expansion Charlotte Hornets got the second pick and Alonzo Mourning; sorry Miami Heat (who won the first title of the 1980s expansion franchises anyway) — to help promote the franchise.

Of course, that all seems like an incredible stretch. Any team can fit that narrative. There is always a “reason” things seem to work out the way they do. Anyone looking for a conspiracy is going to find one.

The Magic certainly have a reason to win the Lottery this year — a reward for rebuilding without tanking so blatantly and trying to take a step forward, perhaps? — or you can just invent one. Like I just did.

The Lottery system is far from perfect. The NBA certainly wants to make some changes and has suggested a few. But nothing has changed. The same four-number, 1000-combination system to determine the top three.

Next: Watch Jason Smith defeat two pounds of steak

In about two weeks, we will find some new story to invent and conspiracy to discover.