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Monday, April 23, 2018

David Stern on NBA Draft Lottery fixing questions ‘bring it on’

NBA commissioner David Stern has a message for conspiracy theorists who believe the draft lottery is fixed: bring it on. The commish did an interview with ESPN’s Michael Wilbon during halftime of Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and Thunder on Sunday, and one of the first topics was about the lottery being fixed.

Questions about the legitimacy of the lottery have persisted since the league-owned Hornets won the top pick despite having the fourth-best odds.

“It makes for good copy, it makes for good questions, so … bring it on,” he said in response to the fixing questions. “I’ve been at this for a while. It happens, but I think the people that know the NBA and that know me know that we don’t take our responsibilities lightly. We do everything to make sure that not only we do it with integrity, but that we do it with transparency.”

Stern recognizes how much the lottery system is questioned, but he says the system won’t be changed.

“We look at it every year. It’s too delicious. If you want to go on YouTube, you can see the 1984 lottery where I supposedly had the frozen card. And it’s all too delightful, really.”

It’s pretty clear that Stern’s interview was done in response to his meltdown on The Jim Rome Show. Stern lost his cool after Rome questioned him about the lottery being fixed. This was a second chance for Stern to convey his message, and do it in a calm and controlled setting where he could come off looking much better.

For the record, as juicy as lottery fixing theories are (and I love a good conspiracy theory), I believe it’s all legitimate. My questions were put aside when Portland and Seattle won the top two spots in the 2007 draft despite having the 7th and 5th best odds respectably. If the league were trying to fix things, they would have given the Celtics the top pick. Boston is one of the NBA’s most valuable franchises, and the team was going through rough times. If the league wanted to help them out, they would have given them Greg Oden, who was expected to be a franchise center.

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