Blog Entry

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

Posted on: May 18, 2011 12:49 am
Edited on: May 18, 2011 12:46 pm
Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn apparently insinuates that the NBA Draft Lottery is rigged. Posted by Ben Golliver. david-kahn

Update: Here's video of Kahn's comments.

For years -- no, decades -- basketball observers have had suspicions about the NBA Draft Lottery. The process is hidden, ping pong balls are involved, and there are a bunch of hurt feelings because 13 of the teams present go home without the No. 1 pick.

Speculation about the lottery being rigged has always been a favorite custom of fans, but it's not something you ever hear spoken about, or even implied, by NBA executives. Until now.

Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn apparently implied in an interview with the Associated Press that the NBA's lottery process is not totally on the up and up.

Kahn's comments came after he joined Utah Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor and Nick Gilbert, the son of Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, as the three finalists for the No. 1 pick. Nick Gibert suffers from a nerve disorder and eventually secured the No. 1 pick for the Cavaliers. 
"This league has a habit, and I am just going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines," Kahn said. "Last year it was Abe Pollin's widow and this year it was a 14-year-old boy and the only thing we have in common is we have both been bar mitzvahed. We were done. I told Kevin: 'We're toast.' This is not happening for us and I was right."
A "habit" of producing incredible storylines implies that it's not intentional or manipulated but simply the product of a track record. But the disclaimer "I am just going to say habit" screams "I am really, really bitter because this was totally fixed so that the kid would win."

Either this was the clumsiest language of all time or a crystal clear implication. I don't see any other interpretations. Surely, a clarification is coming. (Not to mention an apology for referring to a child with a nerve disorder and a widow as "storylines".)

Even the implication of impropriety is sure to rub NBA commissioner David Stern the wrong way and this isn't Kahn's first time getting on Stern's bad side. Kahn was fined $50,000 last July for comments made regarding Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley's marijuana use. A fine here wouldn't be out of the question considering what's at stake for the league: its reputation.

Here's video of Nick Gilbert winning the NBA Draft Lottery.


Since: Apr 9, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:29 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

The NBA lottery is absolutely rigged.  Too many long shots have come through including this year and let us not forget when Portland and Seattle had the first two picks a couple years ago.  They were the teams with the longest shots and yet both got the first two picks. Then there was Patrick Ewing going to New York and Jordon going to Chicago both big markets.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 7:04 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

windowsmear:  How is that the home team gets an inordinate amount of calls and free throws, game in and game out?
They do?  Really?  Or is that just popular group-think by conspiracy theorists?

1987-2011 Free throws:

Home 753, 457 51.2%
Away 715, 881 48.8%

1.2% away from being perfectly equal.  Not exactly an "inordinate amount of calls and free throws, game in and game out", and a number that might easily be explained by the home team being energized and playing more aggressively in front of its home fans.

Maybe that's why coaches don't "demand answers from Commish Stern".

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 6:49 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

Ouman:  "Meanwhile teams like Orlando, Knicks, and David Robinson Spurs have won the thing with 1 percent chances." 

Really?  No, not really.  Entirely false, in fact.

The Spurs had the fourth-worst record in the league when they won the lottery.  And the league had zero reason to want Duncan to go to San Antonio. 

When the Knicks won the lottery, EVERY lottery team had an equal chance of winning (14.29%).  The weighted lottery didn't occur until 1989.  And they've won it ONCE, 26 years ago, and never in the weighted lottery era.

Only Orlando has ever won the lottery with a 1.52% chance.  And the league changed the weighting system again the next year to make the odds of that reoccuring even worse.  And that was the "Chris Webber" draft - hardly a franchise-changing superstar.   When they won the Shaquille O'Neal lottery they had the second-worst record in the league.  (Ironically, only behind Minnesota.)

When you make stuff up, you tend to look stupid.

BTW, That Gasol-Gasol trade is looking a lot more fair these days.

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 6:06 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

The NBA isn't stupid.  Games are subtly tiled in one direction.  Lakers weren't good enough to be close to the Mavericks this year.  Celtics not good enough to beat the Heat.  You can bet that if game 4 was close, LAL would have gotten all of the calls.  Only on occasion do you have outright thefts like the 2002 Western Conference Finals. 27 FT for LAL in the 4th quarter and 2 for SAC.  That's all you need to know.  That's when I stopped watching the NBA and believing the games were fair and not fixed.

Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 5:01 pm

David Kahn insinuates lottery is rigged?

These conspiracy theories are devoid of internal consistency.

--If indeed the whole league is rigged; and

--If the teevee ratings went into the tank whenever the boring, boring Spurs made the Finals; then

--Why didn't the Association --which again, according to theory, has the whole thing rigged-- arrange for their ouster before the Finals, which they manage to reach and win four times over nine seasons?

The answer of course is that to my annoyance and that of many others, they were the best team on those occasions, albeit in an overexpanded, watered-down league (which I've complained about for years) --but at least a league in which everybody had the same hypothetical chance to improve its title prospects each year, if not to win the thing outright, as mechanisms intended  
;to promote competitive balance (such as a limit on roster size, a salary cap, a luxury tax and a draft that rewards poor performance) have been put in place.

Thing is, with rare exceptions (Pistons '04), you need two superstars (or one plus a pair of legit all-stars in their prime) to win an NBA championship these days.

Salary cap rules encourage stars to stay put when new paper is due them (but you can't keep all of 'em and overfill your cart on the free agent market, and it's only logical that the best teams attract top role players who were once all-stars but who willingly take less money and fewer minutes as they age and their primary career ambition shifts from stardom and riches to playing on into June and winning a ring.

Anyway, people who think it's a fraud are entitled to their beliefs, but they could do worse than to turn their backs and pay it no mind --as I've done with the joke that is the NFL.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:47 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?


You're caught. You spew all kinds of BS on these boards and we're sick of it. I see right through you. You said all year it would be Lakers-Celtics in the Finals. Didn't happen. You said last year it would be Lakers-Cavs. Didn't happen.  Ridiculous you compare it to BCS -  No sport is worse than college football when it comes to corruption.   Your agenda  undermines you again. You need to stop your whining.

NBA Playoffs are a great product, that's why people watch it. This year has been one of the best years. The Pacers were a perennial power in the late 90s and the NBA did fine. The Bucks were a power in the 80s and the NBA did fine. Stop pretending that you don't watch the NBA.
 You know you are kidding yourself.  You have watched every series and if Memphis made the finals you'd be right there with the rest of us watching game 1. Don't lie. 

Since: May 15, 2011
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:40 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

After reading a few of the posts below, I see that many people hate the NBA as much as I do.  I find it irrelevant.  I could care less who wins.  Well that's not exactly true.  I'm praying the Bulls beat the Heat.  I get down on my knees every night and and ask for this one favor.  I'm hoping it will work this series especially since they have had two nights off, and I had extra time for prayers.

How about tip off at 8:30.  That will assure the league that I won't be watching.  I'll have more time for more prayers.

Since: Oct 7, 2009
Posted on: May 18, 2011 4:25 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

    How is it that the home team gets an inordinate amount of calls and free throws, game in and game out? You mean to tell me that a NBA team committs the fewest fouls - and gets fouled much much more when they are at home,  - and then all of a sudden they foul much more when they are on the road??? What about this disparity that happens week in and week out.
   If the teams don't totally change personal - haha- that means the refs call it much different for the home teams. There is no explanation or excuse that carries any weight with me.
   Why don't fans complain more about this? Why don't coaches demand answers from Commish Stern??

Since: Apr 30, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2011 3:50 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

Parity can be a bitch to explain, how about the great David Stern define it?

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: May 18, 2011 3:38 pm

David Kahn insinuates NBA lottery is rigged?

The entire NBA is rigged ... just look at last year's FT disparity for the Lakers in the finals.   Stern and his crooked refs have controlled the NBA for a while now.   At this point it's basically on the same level as the WWF.  

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