The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery has sparked a lot of controversy among some fans who believe that the league manipulated the outcome to favor the San Antonio Spurs, Trailblazers, and Hornets. The Spurs, who have been one of the most successful franchises in NBA history, have missed the playoffs for four consecutive seasons and have not had a top 10 pick since 1997. They were rewarded with the No. 1 pick in the draft, which gives them the opportunity to select Victor Wembanyama, a 7-foot-3 French phenom who is widely regarded as the best prospect in years.
Why a 2023 NBA Drift Rigged Conspiracy Theory is Trending
Some conspiracy theorists have argued that the NBA wanted to help the Spurs rebuild their dynasty, and to increase their popularity with a potential superstar. They also noted that two of the worst teams in the league, the Detroit Pistons and the Houston Rockets, both fell out of the top three picks, despite having some of the highest odds to win the lottery.
The Pistons, who had the worst record in the league with only 17 wins, dropped to the fourth pick, while the Rockets, who were tied with the Spurs for the second-worst record with 20 wins, fell to the fifth pick. On the other hand, two teams that had relatively better records, the Charlotte Hornets and the Portland Trail Blazers, jumped into the top three picks. The Hornets, who won 27 games and had a 12.5% chance to get a top three pick, moved up to the second pick, while the Blazers, who won 33 games and had a 10.5% chance to get a top three pick, moved up to the third pick.
The NBA Draft Lottery is conducted by an independent accounting firm under strict supervision and security measures. The process is transparent and audited by representatives from each team and members of the media. The odds of each team are determined by a mathematical formula that is publicly available, and has been unchanged since 2019.
The results of the lottery are allegedly unpredictable and random. There have several previous years when teams with low odds have won the top pick or teams with high odds have fallen down. For example, in 2019, the New Orleans Pelicans won the No. 1 pick with only a 6% chance, while the New York Knicks dropped to the third pick with a 14% chance. In 2020, the Minnesota Timberwolves won the No. 1 pick with a 14% chance, while the Golden State Warriors dropped to the second pick with a 14% chance.
It seems the NBA and other involved agencies have measures in place that in theory would make rigging the system very difficult, or simply impossible. If the 2023 NBA Draft is really rigged, who is the mastermind behind making it happen so smoothly? Are all the teams in on it, and receive some kind of financial compensation for agreeing to be the team who gets a lower pick? There are so many questions that make this conspiracy very interesting, but also hard to prove definitively.