The NBA’s annual draft lottery remains a mystery to me.
Teams that don’t make the post-season make up the collection of teams hoping to land the top pick. A worse record means increased odds of drafting higher.
The concept is simple, but I remain miffed by the lack of transparency in the execution.
If I’m a fan of a team in the lottery – and the Bucks used to be a lottery staple – I want to see the bobbing ping-pong balls rise to the top on live television. Instead, the NBA conducts their ping-pong ball business behind closed doors and only the order of finish is shared to the viewing audience.
In 2003, Ohio native LeBron James was the marquee player available in the draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the lottery and picked LeBron with the number-1 pick.
After LeBron left poor Cleveland in the dust for Miami, the Cavaliers landed the top pick again despite a 2% chance at doing so.
Did the NBA work to cushion the blow of losing LeBron?
In 2008 the Chicago Bulls won the lottery after having among the worst chances at doing so. They chose Derrick Rose with the first pick….that’s Chicago native Derrick Rose.
Over the years, the NBA has tinkered with the lottery process and the odds of winning, but until there is transparency in the process, conspiracy theories will remain.