Top 10 Biggest NBA Draft Conspiracy Theories
10. Sonics Get Kevin Durant (2007)
The NBA draft lottery and ensuing draft are full of high drama, bad suits and lots of controversy. We put on our tin foil hats to rank the Top 10 NBA Draft Conspiracy Theories.
Conspiracy theorists think that the NBA gave the rising star from Texas to the Sonics by allowing them to win the second overall pick in the 2007 Draft - the consensus landing spot for him behind Greg Oden. Seattle was looking for an arena deal to improve upon crumbling KeyArena and conspiracy theorists believe this was David Stern’s attempt to keep basketball in the Emerald City with a Sonics’ revival that rallied voters.
10. Sonics Get Kevin Durant (2007): Part 2
Of course, that didn’t happen. The Sonics were bought by Clay Bennett and moved to Oklahoma City before the 2008-09 season when a new arena deal in Seattle could not be struck. Seattle’s loss has been Oklahoma City’s gain, as Durant is now a six-time All-Star and four-time NBA scoring champion.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 14, 2015
9. Magic Get Shaq (1992)
The Orlando Magic not only did not make the playoffs in their first three seasons after beginning play as an expansion franchise in 1989-90. It would have been a horrible embarrassment for an expansion franchise to utterly fail and either be moved to another city or contracted. That’s why conspiracy theorists believe that it’s just too coincidental that the Magic nabbed the top overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, which yielded them man-child Shaquille O’Neal.
— GEAUX TIGERS (@GeauxTigers) June 24, 2013
9. Magic Get Shaq (1992): Part 2
The Magic didn’t make the playoffs in Shaq’s rookie season but were in the NBA Finals by 1995 on the back of O’Neal. Shaq eventually bolted Orlando for Los Angeles after the 1996 season, but not before putting the Magic on the map.
— NBA Goaltending (@NBAGoaltending) September 16, 2013
8. Blazers Get Greg Oden (2007)
Many remember that center Sam Bowie was selected with the second overall pick in the famed 1984 draft, which was one slot ahead of some guy named Michael Jordan. And that’s part of what inspired the conspiracy theorists who believe that the league gave Portland a handout. The Blazers also have one of the best fan bases in the league that had watched its team miss the playoffs four straight years - the longest drought since being an expansion franchise.
Because I can’t post enough David Stern photos in light of his retirement Saturday, here he is with Greg Oden: pic.twitter.com/MvSREcfXhX
— Matt Glenesk (@MattGlenesk) January 29, 2014
8. Blazers Get Greg Oden (2007): Part 2
If Stern was trying to give the Blazers a jolt, he failed miserably as Oden has become a bigger bust than Bowie. Plagued by injuries, Oden played in just 82 total games for the Blazers - the equivalent of just one full season.
— Timothy Blake (@BZDazed) January 7, 2015
7. Magic Gets No. 1 Pick Again (1993)
If you listen to conspiracy theorists, David Stern is a heck of general manager. Shaquille O’Neal’s rookie season in Orlando produced improvement; the Magic landed just out of the playoffs. It was clear Shaq was going to be the next big thing - literally - in the NBA, leading many to wonder just how the Magic landed the No. 1 pick for the second year in a row despite infinitesimal odds.
— MLP (@majorperks) June 26, 2014
7. Magic Gets No. 1 Pick Again (1993): Part 2
6. Wizards Get John Wall (2010)
Washington Wizards owner Abe Pollin, one of the most-respected men in professional sports, passed away in November of 2010. Was it a coincidence that the Wiz won the lottery and the right to select first overall in the 2010 NBA Draft months later?
— WizardsXTRA (@WizardsXTRA) June 24, 2014
6. Wizards Get John Wall (2010): Part 2
Whether it was rigged or not, Wall has made a huge difference in the nation’s capital. Wall arrived when the Wizards were a downtrodden franchise and has since turned Washington into one of the best young teams in the Eastern Conference.
— CSN Wizards (@CSNWizards) January 31, 2015
5. Bulls Get Derrick Rose (2008)
The Chicago Bulls, one of the NBA’s cornerstone franchises thanks to Michael Jordan, hadn’t been able to come remotely close to replacing MJ’s star power since he left the Windy City after the 1998 season. Since then, the Bulls had missed the postseason seven times and never made it back to the Eastern Conference Finals. But in the 2008 draft, the Bulls wound up with the No. 1 pick despite a 1.7% chance to win the lottery.
6 Years ago today: “With the First Overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft… The Chicago Bulls Select… Derrick Rose…” pic.twitter.com/1LUVnZMQdt
— Dylan Connolly (@DCONN24) June 26, 2014
5. Bulls Get Derrick Rose (2008): Part 2
The Bulls would up with Rose, a hometown kid that could immediately become the first face of the franchise since Jordan retired. A three-time All-Star and 2011 NBA MVP, if Rose can stay healthy, the Bulls might finally bring a title back to Chi-Town.
— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) February 13, 2015
4. Cavaliers Get LeBron James (2003)
James had been a high-school prodigy who brought schoolboy hoops to national television while appearing in his high school’s uniform on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Oh yeah, and he was from nearby Akron, OH. What a perfect tonic for the Cavs, who had struggled for years to obtain true success amid some crushing defeats. You remember Michael Jordan over Craig Ehlo, right? In fairness, Cleveland did have the worst record in the league that season.
11 years to the day, the Cavaliers selected LeBron James with the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. pic.twitter.com/4AMbZpME2z
— CLEsportsTalk.net (@CLEsportsTalk) June 26, 2014
4. Cavaliers Get LeBron James (2003): Part 2
King James lived up to all the hype with the Cavaliers, becoming the best player in the world and leading the Cavs to the 2007 NBA Finals. Of course, if David Stern was such an evil mastermind, wouldn’t he have stopped James from taking his talents to South Beach in 2010?
— Pallonate.com (@Pallonate_web) July 9, 2014
3. Hornets Get Anthony Davis (2012)
The abominable Bobcats did not win the 2012 lottery. That distinction went to the New Orleans Hornets, a team that was owned by the league and transitioned it to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. As conspiracy theorists would say, “here’s a little gift for taking the Hornets off our hands.”
— ExCats (@ExCats) June 26, 2014
3. Hornets Get Anthony Davis (2012): Part 2
Davis has been a godsend to New Orleans, as he’s quickly gaining discussion as the best player in the entire NBA and is an absolute statistical monster, making Benson a very happy owner.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) February 9, 2015
2. Cavaliers Get Kyrie Irving (2011)
It was a bit convenient that the Cavs landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft less than a year after LeBron James took his talents to South Beach.
Even then-Timberwolves GM David Kahn was suspicious: “This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines. Last year it was Abe Pollin’s widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy” - referring to the son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, who was on stage for the lottery announcement.
— Mike Marshall (@machinesports) May 22, 2013
2. Cavaliers Get Kyrie Irving (2011): Part 2
Irving turned out to be the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year. Now a perennial All-Star in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are now one of the best teams in the NBA with LeBron James back in the fold in Cleveland.
Kyrie Irving’s and LeBron James’ shoes tonight for Black History Month. pic.twitter.com/os40dVpsLu
— N1NBA (@AndOneNBA) February 6, 2015
1. Knicks Get Patrick Ewing (1985)
There was no question Ewing’s 1985 selection as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft would earn the top spot on this list.
It’s fitting that the draft lottery system was implemented for the first time in Ewing’s draft. Many suggested that the NBA fixed the lottery in its first year as a way to push Ewing, one of the best college basketball players of all time, to New York - the biggest television market with one of the league’s flagship franchises.
The video of Stern pulling the Knicks’ envelope has been analyzed more than the Zapruder film. Some believe that Stern pulled a frozen envelope or one that had a crease on the corner so he knew which one belonged to the Knicks.
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) January 9, 2014
1. Knicks Get Patrick Ewing (1985): Part 2
Even though the Knicks never won an NBA title with Ewing and Stern is now retired, the conspiracy theory lives large among NBA fans as Ewing is now in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Because attributing good fortune to luck is never as much fun as blaming it on a sinister conspiracy.