Words by Phlip
As mentioned in a recent post, I am convinced that the NBA Draft process is rigged. A perusal of Google will reveal to you that many executives around the league are of the same mind after last week’s NBA Draft Lottery.
We gather today to examine 5 reasons why this conspiracy theory could very well be rooted in the truth, with 5 plausible reasons why the NBA stands to benefit from a rigged draft process.
5. There are 28 teams who will NOT make the NBA finals
The NBA itself has 30 teams to sell, many of are in very small and very intimate markets. Exciting the fan bases of THOSE teams is often the fuel that makes the league move as much as the ease with which the top 6-8 markets they blamed for the lockout. Since those smaller-market teams do not often compete for championships, it is often ONLY the NBA Draft (and its lottery) that represents something they might compete to win annually.
4. The illusion of parity
All pretending aside, most people know – as I have reminded on this very website – that only 10 teams have won NBA titles since 1979 (and that number will not change this year, by the way). The NBA, in a means of pretending there is parity and that anyone can win it, NEEDS the best college players to go to the least competitive teams in the league even if the stay is only temporary (right, LeBron?).
3. Some teams stories are rooted in the immenseness of their failures
Does ANYONE think that Portland had forgotten the name Sam Bowie when they selected a scheduled-for-knee-surgery Greg Oden ahead of uninjured and reigning National Player of the Year Kevin Durant? Sometimes, a team’s best story to sell is that of a loveable loser (think the Chicago Cubs, just in basketball). Portland, for all its trip-and-falls, is still touted as one of those places teams don’t want to have to play when it really matters because their fans are ABSOLUTELY die-hard for them in spite of 35 years of futility and 20 since last realistically competing.
2. Appeasement of owners’ egos
We just watched 28 billionaires and two corporations lock out their highest paid employees in order to extort more money out of them, mostly because those 28 people and two CEOs’ egos were bruised by sharing more of the haul than they wanted. Suffice it to say, if an owner was not able to sell 18-25k people on the idea that their team had a chance – and thereby profit from it – he would sell out to another sucker, probably another sucker in another market, and that sell off would be damaging to the end product. It matters not that no one remembers when the Grizzlies were in Vancouver, it is still true.
1. Because what are we really gonna do about it?
I am CONVINCED that the NBA Draft Lottery, and by proxy the Draft itself, are fixed… What am I going to do, NOT watch the best of the best basketball I can watch for that 7 months of my life every year? What, am I going to watch the WNBA, or a collection of Mid-Major college programs who would have a difficult time beating the high school down the street from my house?
So I will shut up, remain a fan of the team I have been a fan of for the past 26 years and keep watching, just like the rest of you.