May 31, 2012
NBA lottery wasn't fixed
By RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Enough with all the NBA conspiracy talk.
The league didn’t rig the lottery so that the New Orleans Hornets could gain a chance to draft Anthony Davis.
A law firm, team executives and media members are in the room where the drawing takes place. It would not be possible to fix the results. There is no way a multi-billion-dollar league like the NBA would take a chance and break federal laws and risk looking like a joke.
The worst team has only stayed at the top once since 2004 and teams jump up all the time so this isn’t out of the ordinary.
While it might seem a little fishy that New Orleans conveniently won after being league-owned and after trading its superstar point guard Chris Paul before this season started, it has to be a coincidence, just as the Chicago Bulls moving up from eight to draft hometown superstar Derrick Rose was.
Patrick Ewing to the New York Knicks in 1985 might have been a different scenario, but in this day and age things are definitely on the up-and-up.
While we’re at it, the referees aren’t on the take either.
Like in all professional sports leagues, NBA officials have their fair share of bad moments. NBA refs, like MLB umps, are particularly prone to mistakes.
On Wednesday night in Miami, we just happened to see way more miscues than usual.
While many of the calls were horrible and inexcusable — particularly the stuff Dwyane Wade was getting away with — the NBA has always been a star-driven league with superstar calls.
Blame Michael Jordan for that, but it isn’t going to change.
Before James even played a game in South Beach, we surmised that the Heat would be in the bonus for the bulk of most contests.
Though players like Raptors forward Amir Johnson denied it and continue to deny it, Wade and James being able to draw a ton of fouls isn’t anything new and it doesn’t mean the referees are out to get the Boston Celtics. Those guys just happen to take it to the rim hard and it’s very tough to stop them without fouling.
They make a point of going inside and have done that all along. The referees reward teams like that and often give them the benefit of the doubt.
The problem on Wednesday night, unfortunately, was Rajon Rondo wasn’t given that same courtesy.
DECISIONS FOR COLANGELO
Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo is keeping his options open as far as keeping or trading his No. 8 overall selection is concerned.
Complicating a potential dealing of the pick for Colangelo is the fact that the team picking just ahead of the Raptors — the Golden State Warriors — also intend to explore moving the selection for a veteran.
The rumour mill has the Warriors coveting several players the Raptors will consider going after, including Andre Iguodala, Rudy Gay and Danny Granger.
HIGH PRAISE FOR RONDO
Rondo can be a tough personality to fit into a locker room — hence why the Celtics have entertained trade offers for the point guard in the past — but when you’re as good as he is, teams let some stuff slide.
Don’t expect to hear Rondo’s name in trade rumours anymore after his 44-point, eight-rebound, 10-assist gem against Miami in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final.
The victorious Heat couldn’t help but praise Rondo for his performance.
“He almost single-handedly beat us,” said Heat forward Shane Battier.
“That’s one of the best games I’ve ever seen in person.”
That’s a solid compliment since Battier has long been one of the NBA’s premier defenders.
“The performance he put on will go down in the record books.”
AS THE NETS TURN
Deron Williams has denied a Yahoo! Sports report that he will only re-sign with the Brooklyn Nets if Dwight Howard is traded there. “I would love to know who (his) source is (because) he knows more about what I’m thinking then I do,” tweeted Williams. “Maybe they can help me decide?” Meanwhile, the Nets claim they have no regrets about moving what eventually became the sixth pick of the 2012 draft for Gerald Wallace. The defence by the Nets (that Wallace is a better player than a potential sixth overall pick) didn’t make a lot of sense either in light of the fact Wallace is an unrestricted free agent and can leave. If he happens to stay with the team it will look a little bit better, but right now, the move looks like a massive mistake.
AROUND THE RIM
Despite a lottery win for the Hornets, star guard Eric Gordon still intends to explore free agency. Gordon, a restricted free agent, previously turned down a four-year, $50-million US offer from New Orleans ... After failing to stay in the No. 1 spot, team president Rod Higgins told the Charlotte Observer that the Bobcats will work out at least six players and anticipate trade offers coming in for the far less valuable second pick ... Pistons general manager Joe Dumars told Mlive.com that the team will look first for a good fit with its ninth overall selection and if that fails, will take the best player available, regardless of position ... Interesting to hear that Vinnie Del Negro will be back to coach the Los Angeles Clippers next season. That clearly was a call made by star point guard Paul, who likes Del Negro ... French centre Joakim Noah and Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez say they are nearly recovered from injuries and should be available for national team duty at the London Olympics ... According to the Indianapolis Star, Pacers boss Larry Bird would like to go after restricted free agents, but is barred from doing so by owner Herb Simon. Simon believes teams overpay in order to sign restricted free agents.