Houston Rockets vs. Orlando Magic game preview

He's baaack...maybe. - USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets take on the Orlando Magic after trouncing the Los Angeles Clippers at home in a stunning win.

Houston Rockets Tickets

So I usually use this part of the preview to write about the opponents or the Rockets' situation or some such thing.

Or sometimes I write about something totally different. Today is one of those days, kinda.

So last year one of the big things was the New Orleans Hornets won the lottery. A lot of people thought that might be a conspiracy, since the team had been owned by the league and the "Basketball Reasons" trade had been nixed. As a Rockets fan, I'm glad Stern blocked it now, but at the time I was livid.

Well, Jim Rome asked the commissioner if the lottery was rigged, and Stern responded with, "Have you stopped beating your wife?" The Commish brought up a good point that if the Bobcats had won (they had the best chance), then people would have said, "Of course he gave it to them, it's Michael Jordan's team."

But let's go back. The year before, Cleveland won the lottery with the 8th-worst odds (in a pick they acquired from theClippers; they also got the fourth pick with theirs). The Cavs were coming off "The Decision" and it felt like they were owed a superstar. Especially since Dan Gilbert is a whiny little bitch with his Comic Sans font.

The year before that, the Wizards won the lottery. That's the year Gilbert Arenas pulled out a gun on a teammate and then did that stupid dance before the next game. What's more, majority owner Abe Pollin had died earlier that year and his widow became the new owner. When the Wizards won the lottery, people brought this up (David Kahn actually said this aloud in at the lottery in 2011).

So the Wiz had the 5th-best odds, the Cavs won it with the 2nd/8th-best odds, and the Hornets were tied for the 3rd-best odds. Each time had something happened to the team that allowed people to call the lottery "rigged." Now I'm not really one of those believers, but my friend Blaine and I played the "what-if" game.

There are a lot of teams with poor records and the odds could go in many directions, so we ignored that and asked, "If the lottery IS rigged, then which team would most 'deserve' to win it?"

We came up with two teams: the Magic and the Kings.

The Magic got killed in the Dwight Howard saga and everyone feels awful for them. I think Hennigan is an idiot for making that trade and I said so at the time. But the Magic have sympathy around the league. If the season ended today, they would have the 2nd-best odds.

The Kings have this whole possible relocation business going on. I argued that if I was going to give the Kings the #1 pick, I would wait until they were definitely moving to Seattle in order to guarantee interest. I know Seattle would kill for a team of scrubs, but it would be great for the league if they were competitive or at least entertaining. The Kings sit in the 8th-worst record as I write this, but if they tank properly they could be a bottom 5 team.

Another team that got consideration was the Sixers. The Andrew Bynum deal has been a disaster for them and they may not get anything out of it. However, they have the 11th-worst record so this would be an incredible jump and might be too obvious of a move were it to happen.

Again, I'm not saying I believe in this stuff, but it's fun to consider. So that leads us to today's poll question. And I know that there isn't a knockout #1 pick this year, but having the top pick is still a big deal and you can steal deal it and get something else for it if you want, so saying "Having the number 2 pick isn't a big deal this year" means you're playing the game wrong and is not an acceptable answer. Finally, please don't write in the Rockets since Houston won't have a first round pick this season.

Other important games before the Rockets play again:

Today:

Portland vs. Utah (8pm CST)

Tuesday:

Dallas vs. Los Angeles Lakers (9:30pm)

Tip-off at 7pm CST.

No matchups, because medical school.

Opponents' perspective: Orlando Pinstriped Post

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