Was the 2012 NBA Draft Lottery Rigged for the New Orleans Hornets?

5/31/12 in NBA   |   Jnewman482   |   135 respect

This picture of Anthony Davis wearing a Hornets hat was taken two weeks before the NBA Draft lottery and it isn’t helping the NBA front office, which is now being accused by some of rigging the lottery. According to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, a lot of general managers feel that it is a little too perfect that the Hornets were lucky enough to wind up with the #1 pick. 
 
Davis wearing that hat is almost reminiscent of LeBron renting six cabanas in South Beach before announcing that he was leaving Cleveland for the Heat. Once that report came out, it was pretty clear what LeBron was going to do. He wasn’t going to go to South Beach to party with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to celebrate his returning to Cleveland.

However, this is not to suggest that Davis knew where he was going. There’s a difference between wearing a hat and reserving six cabanas. And there’s no legitimate evidence that has come out that suggests the draft was rigged.

But the truth is still up for debate. What do you think?

Would David Stern rig the lottery so that Tom Benson would buy the Hornets franchise? Or would he rig the lottery because he regretted forcing the Hornets to decline the trade offered by the Lakers?

For the first question, Wojnarowski points out that Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints, is already involved in one of the biggest scandals in sports history with Bounty Gate. If anyone were to be worthy of suspicion, it would be Benson. And Stern needed to find someone to buy the Hornets. Offering the #1 draft pick would be a pretty good incentive.

Now let’s take another look at the Lakers trade that was denied. The Lakers were offering Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Lamar Odom, and the Houston Rockets’ first-round pick, which now has turned into the #14 pick. The Clippers offered Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman, Al Farouq-Aminu, and Minnesota’s first-round pick, which is now the 10th pick in the draft.

Looking back on these trade offers, it seems like the Clippers trade is not all that much better for the Hornets than what the Lakers were willing to give up. Martin is a scoring machine at the two position, Scola is a consistent rebounder and offensive threat in the post, and Lamar Odom would have been the lame duck, but the #14 pick is close enough to #10 that the picks are comparable. Eric Gordon is a great young player with star potential and Kaman is a solid center, but Al Farouq-Aminu is a huge project.

After the way that last season turned out, it is worth revisiting the question whether the NBA was right to nix the Lakers deal and allow the Clippers to get Paul. Most Lakers fans will say they got jipped and the majority of Clippers fans will say it is fair, so you might have to ask Hornets fans to get the real answer. At the end of the day though, the deals seem close enough in terms of value for the Hornets that it makes you wonder if the NBA stopped the trade just to keep Chris Paul from joining Kobe Bryant and continuing the dominance of the Lakers franchise. 
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