Karma And The NBA Draft Lottery

Karma is the spiritual law of moral causation. While I don’t subscribe to any religion, I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. Being kind has done me more good than harm.

That said, I got a kick out of Bill Simmons’ NBA Draft Lottery Karma Rankings. He deemed the Cleveland Cavaliers to be the team least deserving of a top pick. He yearned to see them fall to 13 because of their recent draft lottery luck (four top-four picks, including two first overall, in the last three drafts) and general ineptitude as a franchise.

Then the Cavaliers won the draft lottery. Again. With a 1.7 per cent chance. They didn’t even need the team owner’s son to represent them for luck this time.

Bill Simmons reacts to the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the draft lottery for the second straight year

People were quick to cry foul on Twitter.

#Cavspiracy became a thing. So did #CavsGoodKarma.

I am partial to the latter. Unlike the previous three seasons of the post-LeBron James era in Cleveland, the Cavaliers received relatively few ping-pong combinations. That’s because they tried to win games this season (keyword: tried). They finished with a 33-49 record, good for ninth in the Eastern Conference.

The other two clubs in contention for the first overall pick were the Philadelphia 76ers, who tied the record for the longest losing streak in NBA history with 26 consecutive losses, and the Milwaukee Bucks, who managed to find even more ways to fail.

I’d rather see the top pick go to a team that made a late playoff push than a team that spent the year ‘Riggin’ for Wiggins,’ ‘Sorry for Jabari’ or ‘Conced[ing] for Embiid.’

It doesn’t hurt that the Cavaliers owner is a positive guy. Philanthropic endeavours aside, Dan Gilbert blogs about bright snow and sunshine. That’s a man doing karma right.

But then again, the rest of the draft lottery went as expected. This season’s worst teams by record (save for the New York Knicks and Detroit Pistons) still get dibs in the highly anticipated draft next month.

And while karma may (or may not) win a team the lottery, it’s what they do with the pick that matters. Cleveland, you’re on the clock.

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