NBA AM: The Fix Is Not In, In New Orleans
The Fix Is Not In: No sooner had NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the New Orleans Hornets had leap frogged to the top overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Twitter erupted with claims that the NBA had doctored the lottery to award the franchise they still technically own the top overall pick.
Here is the problem with that theory – too many witnesses.
The actual drawing of the lottery balls takes place in front of team representatives for each team, and members of the national media. They get locked in a room until after the picks are announced. The Plain Dealer’s Mary Schmitt Boyer was in the room when the balls were drawn, do you believe she wouldn’t be crying foul if there was any level of monkey business taking place in the room? This is how she explained the process.
Lou DiSabatino, NBA vice president of events and attractions, placed the balls in the machine one by one, mixed then for 20 seconds and then drew out the first winning combination: 6-4-9-7.
When the Hornets were announced as the holders of that combination, Demps celebrated with a small fist pump — and a cup of decaf coffee. Cohen said the Cavs were one ball away. They had 6-4-9-3.
The drawing was repeated and Charlotte won the No. 2 pick with a combination of 8-1-11-5. New Orleans won the third pick so, as stipulated by the rules, there was a redraw. Charlotte won, so there was a second redraw, with Washington eventually winning the No. 3 pick with a combination of 13-7-3-2. According to Cohen, the Cavs had 13-7-3-4 and 13-7-3-5.
The five drawings took about 10 minutes. Then came the 75-minute wait in lockdown until we were allowed into the second studio that housed the NBA representatives who were shown on camera during the lottery show.
Having talked with people who have been selected to be in the room, the level of intricacies involved makes it nearly impossible to forge. The actual drawing process is done in real time in front of dozens of people. They can’t all be in on it, right?
The truth of the matter is the NBA Draft lottery is a weighted lottery to elicit this exact kind of unpredictable outcome. They don’t televise the drawing process because it is mind-numbingly boring and bad TV.
The New Orleans Hornets had a 13.7% chance of winning the top overall pick last night. When you compare the Hornets odds to the Charlotte Bobcats 25% chance of winning the top pick; the gap between the two isn’t nearly as wide as you may think and that’s by design.
When the NBA instituted its lottery system it was done to prevent teams from tanking the season just to get the best pick. In fact in the past 11 lottery drawings the team with the worst record has gotten the top overall pick just twice – Orlando in 2004 and Cleveland in 2003.
It’s fun to say the fix is in, because conspiracy theories are fun, but the truth of the matter is NBA draft lottery has always been unpredictable, that’s why the TV rights for the event are so coveted, and likely why people tune in and care.
If the lottery went as scripted every year, it would simply be a formality not a must see event.
You can say the fix is in, and that’s fun… but the truth is Charlotte didn’t get the top pick, because they had a 75% chance of not getting it before they walked through the door and that’s exactly why there is a lottery in the NBA.
Raptors Like Where They Sit: The Toronto Raptors didn’t leap forward in the draft lottery last night, but they also didn’t fall backwards and that was a real concern for Raptors General Manager Ed Stefanski who was in New York for the proceeding representing his team.
“We’re glad we didn’t move back,” Stefanski told HOOPSWORLD with a smile. “You know, you get a little nervous. You don’t want to move back. At the eighth spot we’re going to get a very good basketball player and with our roster we need depth, so we’re looking forward to it. “
The Raptors will draft with the eighth overall pick, giving them plenty of options, but it’s the arrival of last year’s fifth overall pick Jonas Valanciunas that has the club excited.
“The way I looked at it, maybe everyone won’t agree, but we already got the second pick in this draft,” Stefanski said of Valanciunas. “I think he would be the second pick if he was in this draft. So we’re going into it with Jonas and we’ll get another good player, so it’s a good start for us.”
“Jonas had a terrific summer and a good year this year. I think he got a little tired. He played so many games and has had no rest whatsoever but the kid plays so hard with so much energy, we’re really excited about getting him.”
The Raptors are finalizing the agreement that will get Valanciunas his release and clearance to play in the NBA, although he has a full summer that may preclude him from playing Summer League for the Raptors.
“He’s going to play for the Lithuanian national team and then if they qualify he’ll be in the Olympics, so it’ll be up to what they do in Venezuela.” explained Stefanski.
“He needs a break. What he needs, after the Lithuanian national team, is to shut it down for a while. The kid is a sponge, he picks everything up and he’s a hard worker, so we’re not worried about that.”
Jonas’ contract with Krepsinio Rytas calls for a $2.4 million buyout, of which the Toronto Raptors can contribute $550,000 without any cap ramification. Jonas’ release is considered a formality and could happen in the coming weeks.
The Raptors have been very busy visiting with would-be draft picks at various training sites around the country and seem to be targeting point guards and small forwards with their draft picks.
The Raptors currently hold the eighth and 37th overall picks, and according to Team President Bryan Colangelo, they plan to keep both picks going into the June 28th NBA Draft.
Deron Fires Back: Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported yesterday that even had the Brooklyn Nets won the top overall pick in last night’s draft lottery Deron Williams would be leaving the team is they did not secure a player like Orlando’s Dwight Howard in trade this summer.
People close to the situation in Brooklyn have maintained since the All-Star break that Williams would likely be gone if the Nets didn’t make a huge splash this summer. Williams took to twitter to express his stance on his free agency saying he hadn’t made any decisions as of yet.
I would love to know who Adrian Wojnarowski source is bc he knows more about what I’m thinking then I do😏 maybe they can help me decide?
— Deron Williams (@DeronWilliams) May 30, 2012
The Nets stance with Williams has been extremely consistent. They say they have talked at length with Williams and understand what he is looking for in his next deal, and they are working to make that happen.
It’s commonly believed that Brooklyn or Dallas would be the front runners to sign Williams outright, but Williams continues to say he’ll look at his options in July and make a decision from there.
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