FanPost

Behind the scenes at the NBA Draft Lottery


http://nba-point-forward.si.com/2012/05/30/nba-draft-lottery/

For those that complain about the process, or believe that the draft is rigged, more evidence that everything is on the up and up. There are 14 numbered balls in one of those lottery popcorn machine. Each team is assigned a set of four digit numbers before the lottery, corresponding to their odds of winning. A representative from each team is there to observe. Media members are there to observe. To rig this format, you would either have A) a conspiracy that the non-winning teams, the media, and the CPA firm are in on and no one every talks, or B) Stern would have to somehow rig the ball machine to spit out balls in the precise desired order without anyone else noticing anything odd going on, and to spit the exact right balls out at the exact time interval.

Also, so have asked why not televise the event. First, it removes all drama as the first pick comes out first. Second, the machine spits out numbers for teams that have already received their pick. I.E. another of Charlottes numbers came up after they already got their pick. So there are numerous duplicates. Also, the process appears rather boring, as after a number pops up, they have to scan the list of combinations to see who owned the number.

When it comes to the NBA lottery fixing, there is no there there.

The number to watch, I learned while observing the NBA’s actual lottery drawing on Wednesday night, is the lowest one in the four-number sequence of ping-pong balls that determine which team gets the top pick in the draft. The balls are drawn from one of those air-powered lottery machines more than an hour before the television broadcast of the lottery, in a room open only to officials from the 14 lottery teams (one from each) and a few media members. Everyone in the room must surrender mobile devices and slip them in yellow packing envelopes, and no one is allowed to leave until ESPN’s telecast is over.

Each lottery team is assigned a batch of four-number sequences, of which there are 1,001 in total, all involving various combinations of the numbers “1″ through “14.” The league assigns the sequences chronologically, so that the Bobcats, the team with the best odds of winning the lottery, got the first 250 sequences — all containing the number “1.” The Charlotte sequences started with “1-2-3-4″ and went up to “1-7-12-14.” Though the Wizards, the team with the second-best odds, also had some sequences containing a “1,” the odds were very high that if a “1″ came up at all among the four ping-pong balls, the No. 1 pick would belong to the Bobcats.

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