I’m not even going to lie. I barely watched a second of Rajon Rondo’s historic night (which was possibly one of the best point guard performances in playoff history). The reason – New Orleans won the lottery and I spent the next 48 hours (and counting) watching highlights, listening to interviews, reading articles, reading scouting reports and basically doing anything else I could to find out more about the Unibrow.
The NBA has never been shy of conspiracy theorists, and due to simple human nature in the age of technology, we tend to question just about anything that happens – so I expect this to be the case with the league-owned Hornets securing two best case scenario picks (1st and 10th) in a highly touted draft class. Listening to a Bill Simmons podcast with Chad Ford prior to the draft lottery draw, they listed New Orleans winning the lottery as the second biggest conspiracy that could take place behind the ping pong balls falling in favour of the Brooklyn Nets. They then rambled on about 5 or 6 different scenarios which would raise some questions, but at the end of the day, someone had to win it. Thank god it was us.
Personally, I’ve done enough research, read enough articles by people who were actually behind the scenes at the lottery to be convinced that the process is in no way rigged by the league. There will always be skeptics and I’m fine with that, but when you’re a fan of a team who’s had to overcome the level of adversity that the Hornets have been faced with – words can’t describe the level of excitement and optimism that is finally circling the New Orleans Hornets. So why didn’t they televise the entire lottery proceedings? Simple. It would be horrible television. What most people don’t realise about the process is that the drawing of the lottery balls is pretty much a representative from each team in a room, looking on a big board at the list of 1000 combinations trying to find their own. The process is overlooked by a bunch of Ernst & Young accountant-types. All in all, it is just plain confusing. And it might just be me, but the current format, makes for some pretty damn good television.
In the first article I wrote for NBAMate – some dribble about Chris Kaman being traded – I pointed out my eagerness for the Hornets to win the lottery and grab this guy, and we actually have and I can’t stop smiling.
For those unfamiliar, check out Zach Lowe’s NBA blog – The Point Forward. He wrote a great article on what took place behind the scenes at the draft lottery. He was one of the very few members of the press who was invited back stage to report the proceedings for Sports Illustrated.
3 votes – New Orleans. While the night was historic for Rajon Rondo — one of my favourite point guards — it was also historic for my favourite team, and my favourite city. Only time will tell what kind of career Anthony Davis has with the Hornets, but after watching his college career with a keen eye, I see only a freak injury getting in the way of Davis being an all time great. His defensive tendencies are comparable to the best we have in the NBA. His scoring needs work, but one thing many people don’t realise, is that he was actually one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball. He was scoring just over 14 points per game while taking just 8 shots. He’s a phenomenal rebounder with an insane reach (7″6′ wingspan). So much upside, for this consensus number 1 pick, and plenty of reason for Hornets fans to be over the moon.
2 votes – Rajon Rondo. I feel like a homer rewarding one of the most impressive performances in playoff history with just 2 votes, but have I mentioned yet that the Hornets won the draft lottery? 44 points, 10 assists, 8 boards. Rondo thrives on the big stage, and this was probably the best game of his career. It’s just too bad that the Celtics couldn’t get over the hump.
1 vote – David Stern. This is me publicly thanking the commissioner for vetoing that dumb-arse trade that would have given New Orleans a bunch of above average players in exchange for one of the most talented point guards in league history. Conflict of interest, probably. But I (along with most Hornets fans) say Stern for Executive of the Year. Conspiracists attack!