The NBA draft lottery is an exciting time for the franchises that didn’t accomplish anything worthwhile during the NBA regular season. Although the teams that have the highest chances possible usually win it, there have been instances that have fans and NBA executives wondering if the lottery is actually rigged.
In no way are we implying the NBA actually rigs the lottery but if I were to bet on the ones that were, these would be the 10 NBA lotteries that were likely fixed….
10. 1993- The Orlando Magic win the lottery for the second year in a row.
One year after the Magic selected Shaquille O’Neal with the No. 1 overall pick, Orlando struck gold again and won the lottery for the second year in a row. Coming off a 41-41 season, Orlando had only a 1.52% chance to attain the No. 1 pick. Orlando selected Michigan forward Chris Webber, before trading him to Golden State for Penny Hardaway and three future first round picks.
9. 1997- San Antonio wins the lottery, pairs David Robinson with Tim Duncan.
After a season that saw David Robinson go down with an injury that sidelined him for most of the year, the Spurs finished with an abysmal 20-62 record. Things turned around quickly when the Spurs selected Wake Forest star Tim Duncan with the first overall selection. They were deemed the “Twin Towers” and won their first championship together in Duncan’s second season with the franchise.
8. 1999- Chicago Bulls win the lottery after Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson depart.
One year after the Chicago Bulls dynasty officially ended, they were rewarded with the No. 1 pick to help ease the pain. The front office selected Duke forward Elton Brand. Brand had an amazing rookie year, averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds in his first year. His stint in Chicago would last only two seasons, before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
7. 2004- Orlando Magic wins the lottery for the third time, selects Dwight Howard.
Dwight Howard was the best center to come out of the draft in years. After losing Shaquille O’neal to the Lakers in 1996, it was fitting the Magic would receive the pick and rebuild around another young stud in the paint.
6. 2010-Washington Wizards select John Wall.
The Wizards won the rights to John Wall after winning the lottery with a 10.30% chance. Irene Pollin–the wife of Wizard’s owner Abe Pollin who passed away in November of 2009- - was representing the franchise and received the special news. She was quoted as saying per ESPN.com:
“This is very, very special. I have been in this my entire adult life and to be here, representing my husband, this is very special to me tonight. I think it’s the culmination of my husband’s dream because he wanted another ring and maybe this will get us another ring.”
5. 2003- Cleveland Cavaliers win the lottery , selects phenom LeBron James.
LeBron James was the best player to come out of the draft in years. He was considered to be a “can’t miss” prospect and was called “The Chosen One”. The Cleveland Cavaliers did everything possible to make sure they were in the sweepstakes to land the No. 1 pick. James was born and raised in Akron, Ohio and was seen attending Cavs games prior to his NBA debut The Cavaliers indeed won the lottery and selected LeBron James with the No. 1 pick in the star-studded class.
4. 2011- One year after LeBron James leaves Cleveland, the Cavaliers win the lottery with a 2.8% chance.
In the 2010-2011 NBA season, the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Baron Davis to the Los Angeles Clippers for their first round draft pick. It turned out to be a wise decision. With only a 2.8% chance, the Cavaliers won the lottery and began to move on from the LeBron James era and selected Duke guard Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick.
3. 2012- The then New Orleans “Hornets” win the lottery after the NBA gave up ownership of the team.
There were whispers that a few NBA executives believed the 2012 NBA lottery was fixed. Some speculated if the Hornets were bought, they would receive the No. 1 pick in return. The Hornets were technically owned by the NBA for the 2011-2012 campaign. New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson bought the franchise and selected Kentucky forward Anthony Davis with the No.1 pick. Benson has since changed the name to the “Pelicans”.
2. 2008- Chicago Bulls win the lottery with a 1.7% chance, selects home-town star Derrick Rose.
The Chicago Bulls pulled off one of the biggest upsets in draft lottery history. Many were expecting the Miami Heat (who had the NBA’s worst regular season record and the highest chance to land the No. 1 pick) to land Derrick Rose and pair him up with superstar Dwyane Wade. The tide turned when Chicago won the lottery with only a 1.7% chance. The Bulls selected Derrick Rose, who was born and raised in Chicago with the No.1 pick.
1. 1985-Patrick Ewing and the Frozen Envelope.
The 1985 was the first year the NBA installed the draft lottery. Many believe it was the biggest draft fix in history. Conspiracy theorists claim that the 1985 draft lottery was rigged and NBA commissioner David Stern wanted Patrick Ewing in the NBA’s biggest market: New York. Before the days of ping-pong balls, the picks were chosen via envelopes. Those who believe in the conspiracy say New York’s envelope was frozen so that Stern would know to select that one, which would give the Knicks the first overall pick. Whether it is true or not, David Stern did indeed grab the Knicks envelope and they selected Georgetown star Patrick Ewing with the No. 1 pick.