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NBA teams once complained about weight of numbers or logos on lottery ping-pong balls

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Most NBA lottery conspiracy theories rely on silly reasoning. Representatives of each involved team monitor the actual drawing, which the league also shows publicly after the made-for-TV reveal. Fixing the lottery would require getting unevenly weighted ping-pong balls into the hopper unbeknownst to every team (except one) and the collaboration or ignorance of the security firm charged with maintaining the event’s integrity.

But what about accidentally favoring some teams over others?

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

Other lottery nostalgia, going back to the very first drawing and its infamous conspiracy theory: Steve Mills, the current Knicks president, worked for the league in the 1980s and 1990s, and said Tuesday that he set up the room where the so-called “frozen envelope” drawing happened (granting the Knicks the right to draft Patrick Ewing). A half-decade later, the league switched from envelopes to ping-pong balls. Mills and Joel Litvin, the NBA’s former president of league operations, were in charge of testing out the new balls, they both recalled.

They started by numbering them. Some teams complained that balls with double-digit numbers would weigh more, perhaps impacting the odds somehow. Mills and Litvin switched to team logos. Teams objected that a logo-based system might bring the same issue. Never let a team executive tell you fans are nuttier about conspiracy theories than they are.

Apparently, the league settled on different-colored ping-pong balls:

Now, the league draws four of 14 numbered ping-pong balls for each of the top three picks. Each lottery team gets four-number combinations. So, no team has any specific balls in the hopper.

But I don’t blame teams for being paranoid during the previous setup (or even this setup). Millions of dollars and jobs are on the line.

The lottery is absurd – in part because it’s so important.

Carmelo Anthony on his role with Rockets: “Let’s just let it play out”

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From the moment it became clear Carmelo Anthony was going to join the Rockets — which was a long time before he actually signed the contract on Monday — the questions started:

Would he accept a reduced role with the Rockets? Maybe come off the bench? Be Olympic ‘Melo and blend in with the team?

Coach Mike D’Antoni said he spoke with Anthony and said the player is open to coming off the bench, but he’s not sure what ‘Melo’s role will be. When ambushed by TMZ trying to walk to his car, Anthony said basically the same thing.

“Let’s just let it play out, though. I don’t even know what’s going on. I just signed, let it start first.”

Anthony coming off the bench, being the fulcrum of the offense when James Harden and Chris Paul are on the bench makes some sense (CP3 and Harden are better and more efficient shot creators than Anthony at this point). It’s a chance for Anthony to get his touches and help the other two rest. However, the idea of Anthony starting the first and third quarters and getting heavy touches then but sitting more later is not out of the question.

At the end of close games, D’Antoni is more likely to lean on James Ennis — a long, switchable defender who can shoot threes in the Trevor Ariza mold — than Anthony. It will be just a better fit. Will Anthony roll with that? Will it cause problems in the locker room?

Let’s just let it play out.

The time Andre Drummond taped Spencer Dinwiddie to a chair under cold shower

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Remember when the NBA cracked down on hazing?

It was 2013, and the Miami Dolphins were in the midst of a bullying scandal. The NBA wanted to avoid similar problems.

But enforcement of the NBA’s guidelines was clearly fleeting, a temporary overreaction to the Dolphins’ issues.

By the very next season Andre Drummond and the Pistons were hazing rookie Spencer Dinwiddie.

Kristian Winfield of SB Nation:

Dinwiddie:

Thankfully, Dinwiddie appears to take this in good fun. Context matters, and if the team welcomed him overall, this could be just a harmless prank.

And Dinwiddie has gotten revenge – flourishing with the Nets, including hitting a game-winner at Detroit last season.

Magic Johnson posts low-quality video of his birthday party, Lonzo Ball offers to get him an iPhone

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LeBron James sent Magic Johnson an ardent happy-birthday tweet last year. Then, LeBron eventually provided the best gift imaginable – signing with Johnson’s Lakers.

I think Johnson is having a good 59th birthday today. But I can’t say for certain – because the video he posted is pixelated and has distorted audio:

That prompted Lonzo Ball to tweet:

Ha!

That’d be a pretty nice gift. But I don’t think it’ll endear Ball over LeBron.

Jimmy Butler disses agent, trainer, chef, commenter – not Timberwolves teammates – on Instagram

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There’s reportedly friction between Jimmy Butler and his Timberwolves teammates, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns.

It’s not hard to see why. Butler pulled himself up from the bottom and has developed an understanding of how he got here. He has shown little patience for those who don’t match his work ethic and competitiveness. The younger Wiggins and Towns are former No. 1 picks who seem too content at times.

Anyway, Butler posted this photo to Instagram:

Butler appears to be talking – almost certainly in jest – about his trainer (Chris Johnson), agent (Bernie Lee) and chef (Christian Bowman). After all, those three are behind him in the picture.

A commenter brought up Wiggins and Towns, saying Butler should lead those two, and Butler shot back:

This has gotten spun into evidence of strife in Minnesota. I don’t see it. That strikes me as a retort to the commenter, not a shot at Wiggins and Towns.

Besides, if you’re looking for evidence of the Timberwolves’ internal problems, there’s more than enough elsewhere.