If Charlotte wins the first overall pick in tonight's draft lottery, it'll be because the association wants Michael Jordan to succeed and the Bobcats to draw in a market the NBA desperately wants to stay in. If Washington wins the lottery, it'll be because Ted Leonsis's son is the team's rep, and the NBA loves having
young kids and old widows win. If Cleveland wins a second straight No. 1, it'll be because the league wants to amply reward them for getting screwed by LeBron. If New Orleans wins, it'll be a thank-you to Tom Benson for buying the Hornets. If the Kings win, it'll be a ploy to keep the Maloofs in Sacramento. If the Nets win, it'll help persuade Deron Williams to stay and Dwight Howard to come and create an instantly competitive team for its Brooklyn debut.
There is not a single team in the lottery that could win tonight without the NBA conspiracy theorists crying "fixed!", except maybe the Raptors, and David Stern doesn't want Anthony Davis languishing in Toronto so he's not going to let that happen.
Speculating that the NBA is rigged is a time-honored tradition, now the domain of executives as well as angry people on the internet. It's a natural urge to seek order in chaos. And the NBA, with tons of shady officiating and a league office that operates with less transparency than a Third Reich People's Court, is a natural target.