Top NBA Draft Lottery Moments

Our Annual Reflection on David Stern's Creative Twisting of Oversized Envelopes

5/20/08 in NBA   |   CriticalFanatic   |   respect

Tonight, the future of fourteen franchises rests in the fate of some bouncing ping pong balls and/or David Stern's determination to give the New York Knicks some new life. He's done it before.

Much like our fascination with the reading of names at the NFL Draft, I'm always amazed at my own interest in the revealing of team logos during this NBA Draft Lottery. Just imagine if the NFL sorted out the top picks in this manner - we'd have a full three hour pre-game show.

Since it was established in 1985, the lottery has created numerous awkward and memorable moments for the NBA GM's and players representing their teams. No two memories bigger than what happened in the lottery's first year and it's most recent.

1985 Infamous Fixed New York Knicks



There are many theories on how David Stern managed to fix this 1985 draft, but just about everyone can agree that the lottery was manipulated.

The first year of the lottery, each of the worst seven teams had equal chance at the selection. Golden State claimed the worst record that season and ended up with the seventh pick. The Knicks who were in need of a franchise player magically won the rights to draft Patrick Ewing.

At the 5:30 mark check out how Stern grabs three envelopes somewhat stuck together, flips them over, and then grabs the one now resting on top. Good stuff.

There's even Bill Simmons' just-so-crazy-it-might-be-true theory that Stern had a guy crease the Knicks' envelope just before he put all the envelopes in the glass drum. That way Stern knew exactly which one to pick out for the Knicks.

2007 "Black Tuesday"



It was more than OK to laugh at Celtics fans last spring when they fell down to the 5th spot after throwing parties around Boston to serenade Greg Oden or Kevin Durant as the next savior. Now that they're into the Eastern Conference finals, I think even Bostonians can look back and laugh at how distraught they were last May 22nd.

Who could have ever predicted what Danny Ainge pulled off this summer.

The other unmistakable memory here was the huge smile on Brandon Roy's face. He's still yet to realize what he won that day, but continue to believe it was worth the smile.

Thanks to Wikipedia, we've got a detailed grid of the 2008 lottery team's chances at each draft pick:


Since Jay-Z will be representing the New Jersey Nets tonight in Secaucus, New Jersey, we can only hope the ball bounces their way. And of course, one must think about the most unlikely and unbelievable scenario of Greg Oden and LaMarcus Aldridge being paired with Michael Beasley.
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