Following the events of the 2020 NBA draft lottery, it has become clear to me that the NBA is incentivized to keeping the New York Knicks bad. And while I am a Knicks fan, this is an actual theory that I believe could be possible.
Taking a look at the NBA draft lottery over the past few years, there is a common trend. Since 2015, the Knicks have never had a pick higher than it was originally expected. In fact, the Knicks’ draft pick has slipped to a lower position each of those years except for one.
This brings me to my reason for why the NBA wants the Knicks to lose. The NBA is incentivized to giving top picks to smaller market teams. The NBA can make more revenue by placing the biggest stars of the future into small market teams to facilitate financial growth. For example, the Minnesota Timberwolves have had the rights to the number one pick twice since 2015. Also, when the New York Knicks were projected the number one pick ahead of the 2019 Draft, they slipped to 3rd, while two small market teams, the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies moved up to spots 1 and 2 respectively. This gave the Pelicans and Grizzlies the ability to draft two potential superstars in Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.
Why would the NBA want the New York Knicks to improve? The answer is that they wouldn’t.
The New York Knicks are already the most valuable team in the NBA despite their consistent failures, ahead of teams like the Lakers, Celtics, and Warriors. I understand that there are many more factors behind the failures of the New York Knicks, such as the horrendous ownership of James Dolan.
The New York Knicks have long been terrible, something that would be in the interest of the NBA. Financially, it is better for the league if smaller markets are able to draft the biggest names. It allows them to have a bigger market. On the contrary, the New York Knicks will not grow significantly as a market with a top pick.
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