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Inside the Lottery Machine

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Ping pong ball drama.

by Bent

May 22nd, 2007. The NBA Draft Lottery. Backstage, they fire up the lottery machine in a private ceremony to determine who gets the number one pick before the results are announced. All the balls are loaded into the side door and are jostling for position.

lottery_balls.jpgBoston: Outta my way. I *need* this.

Milwaukee: We all *need* this.

Chicago: Well, not all of us. Ha ha.

Boston: Who invited you, anyway?

Chicago: Isiah Thomas.

Boston: Right. Ugh.

Atlanta: So once they press the button, we all head for that big plastic chute up there and whoever gets out of there first, wins the number one pick in June

Seattle: What makes you such an expert? Oh, right.

Memphis: Hang on, hang on. This isn't fair, shouldn't there be 250 of me or something?

Atlanta: Nah, they don't do it that way any more.

Memphis: But I was the last placed team. Where's my advantage?

Atlanta: Oh, you just get a head start.

Memphis: Sounds fair enough.

Portland: This isn't right. They're supposed to draw 4 numbered balls out of 14 and the 1,001 possible combinations of numbers are then allocated between the lottery teams, with the team with the fewest regular season wins having the most combinations allocated to them.

All the others: Shut up, Portland!

Philadelphia: You seem remarkably calm about this, Atlanta. What gives?

Atlanta: It's all good. I know I get the 12th pick unless I "win" one of the top three places. Somehow, I can't see that happening. Sorry, Indiana.

Memphis: So you're going to try to lose on purpose? But that's disgraceful.

Everyone looks at Memphis with a "you have got to be kidding" look on their face.

Phoenix: Actually, I'm in the same boat. Me and Atlanta'll just hang back here out of the way.

Milwaukee: These things are easy anyway. All you have to do is show up.

Seattle: Oh yeah? A trash talker, eh? Well, I'm certain to win because I am Supersonic!

Milwaukee: Actually, you're just "Sonic" now.

Seattle: What, like the hedgehog? Aw, rats! Meh, I don't care because I'm losing the team soon anyway.

Charlotte: I don't stand a chance *cough*. I'm not very well. *splutter* It would take a herculean effort to win this thing. *puts towel over himself*

Everyone else rolls their eyes.

Sacramento: Get off me! *Barges into all the other balls and then leaps out of the door and into the crowd.*

Chicago: I think somebody needs to switch to de-caf.

NOOCH: I think I have a shot at this. Hello?

Everyone ignores the "noob".

LA: I bet you didn't expect to see me.

Boston: Lakers? What are you doing here? Where's the Clippers' ball?

LA: I am the Lakers. Therefore I am entitled.

Boston: Whaa?

LA: Lakers. Entitled.

Boston: I hate you. This isn't fair. You can't possibly expect to get away with this.

The machine starts turning. All the balls start churning around in the bottom of the machine. Memphis sets off towards the chute with its head start.

Atlanta: Wow, man. You need to hurry up.

Memphis: Slow and steady wins the race.

Atlanta: It's decision making like that which has led to all the success your franchise has enjoyed in recent years.

Boston sets off next. Boston is much faster than Memphis due to not having expended any energy by running (despite promising to do so in each of the last ten preseasons) and soon moves into the lead.

One by one, each of the balls set off in pursuit of the chute.

Philadelphia: Screw this, I'm not going to win. Boooooo!

Phoenix: Wow, you're booing YOURSELF? Already? Wow, that's harsh, dude.

Minnesota comes from nowhere to suddenly build up a sizable lead.

Minnesota: With this dastardly plan, that first pick is going to be mine. All mine! Draft related shenanigans - what could possibly go wrong?

Muttley: *Snickers*

Minnesota puts a sign up that says "Chute this way" and points it away from the chute. Unfortunately, an out of control Sacramento smashes back through the door and the resultant gust of wind spins the sign round so that it points back towards the chute and everyone rushes past before Minnesota can set off again.

Minnesota: Drat, drat and double drat!

Boston is back in the lead!

Boston: I can see the light! I'm going to win the race. This must be how fertilization feels! First to the egg! A birth of a new era in Boston. A glorious moment to cherish and ... what the?

Boston is just a fraction of an inch too big to fit in the chute.

Boston: Curse you, David Stern! If I had a fist, I'd be shaking it at you right now!

Boston floats away and desperately starts trying to make himself smaller by scraping himself against a sharp bit of the machine. Behind him, the rest of the field are closing fast.

Charlotte: Stop bumping me. Ref! Ref! They keep bumping me.

Portland: Huh? You bumped into me. You initiated the contact.

Lottery Machine Ref: Back off him and give him some room.

Portland: Typical. The Jordan Rules. I can't catch him now. That's it. Charlotte's going to win it. Oden and Okafor - what a front line. Maybe I can still get the second pick. Durant will really compliment... uhhh, who do we have again?

Just before Charlotte reaches the chute, Atlanta deliberately cannons into Phoenix and sends him through the chute before anyone else. Phoenix wins! Which means the pick reverts back to Atlanta.

Atlanta: Yes! Respectability at last. All that lottery experience pays off after all. Whoo-hoo!

Charlotte: Ha ha! I get the second pick. Which is what I wanted anyway, because you don't have to give them as much money and therefore I have more left to go gambling with.

Sacramento careens up the chute to lock down the third pick, which means Memphis picks fourth and Boston fifth. In a final moment of complete humiliation, Boston ends up stuck in the end of the chute with the rest of the balls laughing at him.

Never mind, Boston. Maybe the "luck" will be with you next year.