Celtics

The NBA Lottery Is Not Rigged, But Shady Process Lends Itself To Criticism

By Andrew Celani, CBS Boston
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NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announces that the Cleveland Cavaliers has won the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery on May 20, 2014. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum announces that the Cleveland Cavaliers has won the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery on May 20, 2014. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – This is not a sour grapes article. I promise.

Heading into Tuesday night’s draft, the Celtics had the best odds of receiving the no. 6 pick in next month’s draft, and lo and behold that’s exactly how it unfolded — proof that the ping pong ball system does have some merit and value.

That being said, let’s shift our attention now to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Since 2003, the Cavs have received four no. 1 overall picks in the NBA draft, with three of them coming in the last four years.

Perhaps ESPN’s Bill Simmons put it best last night when he said something to the effect of, “We know LeBron left, but how many more gifts is the NBA going to give Cleveland?”

The NBA lottery is not rigged.

How do I know?

If the scouts and analysts are correct, and this really is the best draft class in over a decade, then it would have been the Lakers or Celtics celebrating their lottery win last night and not Cleveland.

Instead, both Los Angeles and Boston were left out of the top five.

The NBA thrives off its major markets and big stars, so they have no vested interest in having a competitive team in a middling Midwest city.

Celtics supporters who have been jilted not once, not twice but three times now in the draft will probably disagree, but it’s the truth: the NBA lottery is not rigged.

However, this behind closed doors operation lends itself to criticism. Why can’t the ping pong ceremony be televised? Is it like some secret, Skull and Bones fraternity initiation?

Like Chazz Reinhold’s mother in Wedding Crashers, nobody knows what they’re doing back there, and therein lies the problem.

Conspiracy theories, and rightfully so, were rampant last night and it happens every single year. It’s hard to put one hundred percent faith and confidence in a process that only a few people get to see how it actually plays out.

The NBA lottery isn’t perfect, but it’s ten times better than this draft wheel proposal that’s been thrown out there. I’d much rather have a crappy team receive the no. 1 overall pick two straight years than see a team get their pick of the college litter coming off a championship.

That’s just my opinion though, what say you? How would you fix the draft lottery?

Read more from Andrew Celani by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @ACE_Worldwide.

MORE CELTICS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON

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