Was the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery Rigged? Or Does David Stern Just Hate the Nets?


With the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery now over, the big question everybody is asking is, was the lottery rigged? Did David Stern put the teams he wanted at the top? I believe that the short answer is no. However, there is plenty of evidence that one could present that proves otherwise. Let’s first look at my predictions made BEFORE for the lottery, which you can see here. In this article, I determined what the lottery would be if David Stern wanted to fix it. Although not all my predictions are completely spot on, many of my predictions came true to some extent, including correctly predicting that the Hornets would win the lottery. I also correctly predicted that the Bobcats, Wizards, and Cavaliers would move down in the draft. The big prediction I got wrong was that the Nets would draft second, but I will talk more about that later. Here is what I wrote about the Hornets BEFORE the draft on why I thought that they would pick first:

"With the #1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the New Orleans Hornets will select Anthony Davis out of the University of Kentucky. Why do the Hornets get this pick over the Nets or Bobcats? The NBA wants this team to succeed in New Orleans and doesn’t want to see them move. David Stern loved seeing the New Orleans Arena packed every night when Chris Paul was a Hornet and he thinks that this team could become a winner. He has seen how popular the New Orleans Saints have become in the city, and he thinks the Hornets can also become popular if they had a superstar like Anthony Davis. Also, Stern definitely has some type of connection to this team because he was their GM for much of the last two seasons and he had a big part in bringing Eric Gordon to New Orleans. With the #1 pick, another lottery pick, and Eric Gordon (who is a restricted free agent), the Hornets should be ready to compete for a playoff spot as early as next season."

Hmmm. Very interesting. This is what everybody was saying this morning AFTER the Hornets won the lottery and this is why many claim that the lottery is rigged. Even though this looks like pretty good evidence pointing to the lottery being fixed, one could have made an argument for just about any team that had a chance at winning the lottery. Let’s go down the list of the teams with the best chances and talk about what people would have said if that team had won the lottery:

  • Charlotte: They just experienced the worst season in franchise history. David Stern is trying to save the franchise by giving them the first pick.
  • Washington: They already have an up-and-coming point guard in John Wall. Adding Anthony Davis could bring tons of excitement to our national’s capital and put fans in those seats. David Stern wants a good team in Washington. Also, the Wizards are still recovering from the Gilbert Arenas gun scandal and this pick would assuredly put that situation behind them.
  • Cleveland: One of the best young point guards, Kyrie Irving, and one of the best big men, Anthony Davis? This team would be a championship contender for the next decade. Cleveland fans would definitely be over Lebron’s “Decision”.
  • Sacramento: The NBA is trying to save one of its former proud franchises and keep the team in Sacramento. Anthony Davis would create lots of excitement in the city. Combine him with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins and you can have a playoff team next year which would lead to a brand new arena.
  • Brooklyn: I think we’ve talked about the reasons why the Nets should’ve gotten the top pick many times on this site. New city, new market, new arena, new colors, new fans. Also a team desperately trying to hold onto its star in Deron Williams and possibly land another in Dwight Howard. The NBA wants this team to be successful.

So, to conclude, whichever team won the lottery, people would complain. The other main reason why I think that the lottery was NOT rigged is that the Brooklyn Nets did not get a top-3 pick. This could have been a very easy situation for the NBA without anybody getting too suspicious. The Nets didn’t need the top pick. They just needed a top-3 selection. Knock the Wizards back to #4 and slide in the Nets at #3 and there would not be an uproar. Going into this lottery, I believed that David Stern rigged it to some extent, but this proves to me that he does not. He had every reason to give the Nets a top-3 pick, and yet this did not work out.

Because I don’t believe that the lottery is fixed, I am amazed at how accurate many of my selections were. I guess I was just lucky. Too bad my only big mistake was picking Brooklyn.

Do you think that the NBA fixes the lottery?