No matter which team gets the lucky bounce on May 30th and wins the NBA lottery, fans will be quick to put on a tinfoil hat and scream "conspiracy." If the Bobcats get selected, they will say that it is because David Stern wants to improve a struggling team and to get people in the Time Warner Cable Arena. If the Wizards win the lottery, it is because the NBA wants to give John Wall an opportunity to show that he is indeed a worthy top pick. If the Cavs win, it is because there was a backroom deal between David Stern and Dan Gilbert to drop the legal investigation regarding LeBron James' free agency voyage to Miami. If the Hornets win, it is because David Stern had an agreement with Tom Benson in order to convince him to buy the franchise that had been on the market for a long time. If the Sacramento Kings win, it is because they want to conjure up excitement for when the franchise inevitably moves to Anaheim. If the Rockets win, it is because David Stern wants to set an example against teams that "tank" and to reward the Rockets for trying to win despite their ceiling being limited.
No matter what happens, NBA fans will have "proof" that the lottery is rigged.
And they are all 100% wrong.
David Stern is not the omnipotent power that NBA fans like to pretend that he is. On various message boards and Twitter, I see people speculating on how the NBA draft will pan out. There are plenty of comments about pertaining to how David Stern will "rig to lottery." Additionally, he will "not give it to the Hornets because that is too obvious."
If NBA fans truly believe that the lottery is rigged to give certain teams the top pick, they need to re-evaluate their thought process. How would the NBA decide on who to give the top pick to? What people ignore is that this would have to happen with all of the thirty teams knowing that it is happening and without any of them speaking up about it. Let's say that you are Michael Jordan and you were told that the league would rig the lottery so the Bobcats would win the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. That means that you were specifically told that you would not be getting Kyrie Irving in 2011 and that you kept your mouth shut about it for all this time in the hopes that you would be selected as the lucky franchise at some point. It would be beneficial for all parties involved to have a legitimate lottery system instead of one that subjectively selects a team without leaving it to odds and chance.
The NBA allows for media members from every single franchise in the lottery to witness the drawing. If a fan believes that the lottery is not a real thing that it is arbitrarily picked by the league and David Stern, they should be critical of their beat reporters who are not reporting on it. The reason the lottery is not aired live is because it creates better drama this way. The lottery is worked out by figuring out which teams pick first, second, third and so on. The NBA airs the lottery going in reverse order because it offers better drama. If the lottery is shown on TV and people know who gets the first pick at the top of the lottery special, most people would change the channel immediately after that. It does not help the bottom line.
Most important is the fact that the NBA allows the public accounting firm Ernst & Young to audit the entire process. This is a company that has firms in 140 different countries that specializes in third party auditing. They are open and transparent about their auditing practices. A simple visit to their website provides that information.
The lottery is audited by a giant corporation that specializes in this sort of matter and it is overseen by members of every lottery team and their local media. Too many people would have to be "in on the secret" for the NBA to pull something as big as this off. The reason that many fans believe that the lottery is rigged is because every single team that wins it has a good storyline. It is also easier to accept a corrupt company hurting your team as opposed to a bad bounce and some unfortunate luck.
David Stern works for the owners. He is not going to sacrifice alienating the other 29 owners and risk losing everything in order to dictate which team wins the lottery. The team that will win the lottery on May 30th will do so because they selected by chance. David Stern has the appearance of being a very powerful man who dictates who wins the championship or which team gets to pick first overall, but in reality he is more like the Wizard of Oz. He has the appearance of having more power than he should, but that is just that: An appearance. He resembles the Man Behind the Curtain more so than he does an all-powerful puppetmaster that NBA fans have him pegged as.