There is a large contingent of NBA fans who believe that the Draft Lottery is fixed. Ewing to New York in ’85, LeBron to Cleveland in ’03 – there are just too many coincidences over the years to think that the lottery isn’t occasionally tweaked.
Howard Beck, who has seen the process with his own eyes, couldn’t disagree more.
“First of all, I don’t believe in conspiracies, and this is the second time I’ve been in the sequester room and actually (seen) the ping pong balls draw,” the Bleacher Report senior NBA writer said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “There’s video of this online, so you can see for yourselves. You can watch how it goes. It’s the same 14 balls that are going over and over (to create a four-digit code). You can’t fix this. You just cant. And there’s 14 people in the room representing the 14 teams in the lottery, a variety of NBA officials, a bunch of us from the media – it’s not fixable. It cannot be fixed. It is not fixed. If people want to go to the frozen envelope stuff from way back in the day and Patrick Ewing, fine. Run wild with it. I’m not buying that one either, but at least that one you can at least see how it could be messed with. This system cannot be (fixed and) is not (fixed). It’s a ridiculous line of thinking.”
As it stands, the Celtics, Lakers, and 76ers have the top three picks, respectively, in this year’s NBA Draft. Boston could go in any number of directions.
“I think that the Celtics will act as they have under Danny Ainge, which is they will be ruthlessly pragmatic,” Beck said. “There will be no sentimentality involved here. They will do whatever they think is best. If that means they could get a haul of veterans that could help them in certain areas, they’ve got plenty of youth and they could trade the pick. If they think that Markelle Fultz is going to be a franchise-changer and he’s a better long-term point guard for them than Isaiah Thomas, guess what? They will draft Markelle Fultz and they will trade Isaiah Thomas – or they’ll let him walk in 2018. They’re not going to be held hostage to sentiment or anything else. They’re going to do what they think is best, and it’s a pretty darn smart front office. I don’t know where they’re going with this – I don’t think anybody does at this stage – but don’t rule anything out.”