“Did David Stern rig the NBA Draft for the Knicks?”: Patrick Ewing, New York’s $17 million rookie might have been a set up

Akash Murty
|Published 20/09/2022

According to a conspiracy theory, New York Knicks getting the #1 pick in the 1985 draft could have been a ploy by NBA Commissioner to get them, Patrick Ewing.

After the Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, and Houston Rockets were all set for their upward climb in the NBA after drafting Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1984, the Knicks had their eyes set on picking up the #1 pick of 1985.

The Knicks finished with the 1984-85 season with a 24-58 W/L record, good for the 10th best team in the East and the 3rd worst in the entire league.

Traditionally, there would have been a coin toss between the two worst teams – Indiana Pacers and the Golden State Warriors for the #1 pick.

Also read: Former Michael Jordan teammate ‘amused’ at Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant’s complaints against The Last Dance

But NBA commissioner, David Stern, a known New York Knicks fan, introduced a lottery system that year. And the internet believes it was a set-up for what turned out to be the Knicks’ biggest draft picks of all time.

Patrick Ewing could have been a Warriors or a Pacers legend 

Although Ewing, would not win any Championships for the Knicks, he is the unarguable GOAT of Madison Square Garden. But what was the NBA’s first-ever lottery pick, could easily have been a set-up by the league’s general in command, according to this clip we came across on YouTube.

Now, would NBA’s best commissioner go as far as fixing a draft night to get his favourite team the best player? The risk of it makes it hard to believe.

But the league decided to shift to the lottery system that same year, makes it conspicuous. However, we will never come to a conclusion on this because there is nothing concrete to prove it.

Patrick went on to sign a six-year, 17M deal with the Knicks and started off by winning the Rookie of the Year award. He spent 15 of his 17-year career there, trying his best to win a championship.

While doing that, he averaged close to 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. He made 11x All-Star, 7x All-NBA, and 3x All-Defensive team appearances and had several great Play-offs series against the games’ greatest ever.

He is the cornerstone of the Knicks franchise but easily could have been a Warriors or Pacers legend and might have won a championship or two had the league not changed the draft system that year. And also, whatever else they did according to this conspiracy theory.

Also read: $75 million Patrick Ewing has more seasons as the highest paid player in the NBA than Micheal Jordan and LeBron James combined





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About the author
Akash Murty

Akash Murty

An Electrical and Electronics Engineer by degree, Akash Murty is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. Previously a Software Engineer, Murty couldn’t keep himself away from sports, and his knack for writing and putting his opinion forward brought him to the TSR. A big Soccer enthusiast, his interest in basketball developed late, as he got access to a hoop for the first time at 17. Following this, he started watching basketball at the 2012 Olympics, which transitioned to NBA, and he became a fan of the game as he watched LeBron James dominate the league. Him being an avid learner of the game and ritually following the league for around a decade, he now writes articles ranging from throwbacks, and live game reports, to gossip. LA Lakers are his favourite basketball team, while Chelsea has his heart in football. He also likes travelling, reading fiction, and sometimes cooking.

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