The popular one this season goes something like this: even though the Wolves have the best odds (25 percent) of landing the No. 1 pick, there’s no way the NBA would let that happen since both the Knicks (second-best odds) and Lakers (fourth-best) are marquee franchises.
That type of thinking alludes to a sort of rigging of the lottery by the NBA, and that kind of sentiment goes back exactly 30 years to 1985, a season in which fans remain convinced that the NBA did in fact rig the lottery to give the Knicks the No. 1 pick (which they used to select franchise-altering center Patrick Ewing).
The rigging of the lottery would not explain, though why a number of small-market teams (most notably Cleveland, which got the number one pick in 2011, 2013 and 2014) have won the lottery, so modern day fans shouldn’t have much to worry about. Still, that 1985 conspiracy theory has some legs and has caused three decades of mistrust. If the NBA did it then, why couldn’t the league do it again?
In case you aren’t familiar with the juicy 1985 conspiracies, SI.com’s Chris Ballard has a nice video taking you back in time. Have a look if you are so inclined … and if you’re a Wolves fan, hold your breath until tomorrow night’s drawing.