Let's just get right down to it. The NBA Draft Lottery is not fixed.
The NBA could surely take a few steps to change the perception of their once a year, made-for-TV spectacle for last year's losers. For instance, conducting the actual lottery out in the open and not behind closed doors would go a long way. But it's become commonplace, regardless of the teams involved or the player expected to go first in any given year, for those who lose out to cry foul play. Heck, on Wednesday the cries of a fix were coming in hours before the lottery even took place.
The 2012 Draft Lottery, a.k.a. The Anthony Davis Sweepstakes, was going to be perceived as rigged in almost any possible scenario. Sure, if somehow the Phoenix Suns miraculously won the top pick, maybe that would have quieted all the conspiracy theorists. But had any of these teams won the lottery, "It was fixed" would have been the common theme on Thursday:
New Orleans Hornets: Well, they won the lottery and there is a lot of crying today. Yeah, the NBA owns them, so this is probably the most easily built-in fixed excuse.
Brooklyn Nets: Do you think David Stern and the NBA loves the idea of the Nets opening the brand spankin' new Barclays Center with MarShon Brooks and Jordan Williams as the faces of the franchise? Well, that's where the Nets look headed by not winning this lottery, with a good chance that Deron Williams packs his bags.
Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats are owned by Michael Jordan.
Cleveland Cavaliers: We're still sorry about LeBron James crapping all over you in public, so here's a new star to build around.
Detroit Pistons: Landmark franchise that was second to last in attendance this season.
Maybe this is all the New York Knicks' fault for winning the original lottery, in 1985, which netted them Georgetown superstar Patrick Ewing. Everyone thought that lottery was rigged (hey, maybe it was), so now every lottery is believed to be fixed. So if the NBA fixed the lottery back in 1985 for the Knicks, why then did they not fix it in their favor numerous other times over the past decade when they really could have used it?
How about in 2003, when LeBron James was sitting there? What about 2008 and Derrick Rose?
You can go ahead and continue to believe the NBA Draft Lottery is fixed. I don't.
Quick Hits and Misses
-Rangers coach John Tortorella did season-ending radio interviews with afternoon sports talk rivals Mike Francesa on WFAN and Michael Kay on ESPN Radio. In both cases, Tortorella referred to certain, unnamed media members as "idiots". More specifically, he noted the media who parachute in during the playoffs, who know jack about the sport. I'm pretty sure he was referring to this asinine piece by Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News. I really shouldn't have linked it, because it honestly is a bunch of garbage.
-I'm really interested to see the television ratings for this year's Stanley Cup Final. My prediction: the NHL will not like what they see.
-Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are the best NBA broadcasting team currently going. Van Gundy's brutal honesty is the perfect foil to Breen's usual political correctness (although Breen did join Van Gundy in railing against Doc Rivers' questionable technical foul in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals). There's no way this would ever happen, but it would be great as a Knicks fan if MSG could bring Van Gundy in as an analyst. For some reason I don't think Dolan and Co. would appreciate the honesty.