No. 1 Pick Could Help Push Cavs Into The Playoffs

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NEW YORK – Before Tuesday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers were among the two or three Lottery teams most likely to make the playoffs next year. They have a budding superstar, other young players who will only get better, and a new (and old) coach who will get them to improve on the end of the floor where they’ve been particularly dreadful that last few years.

2013 Lottery results
Pick Team
1. Cleveland
2. Orlando
3. Washington
4. Charlotte
5. Phoenix
6. New Orleans
7. Sacramento
8. Detroit
9. Minnesota
10. Portland
11. Philadelphia
12. Toronto (to OKC)
13. Dallas
14. Utah

After Tuesday night, if you didn’t already have them there (some of us did), you’d have to move the Cavs to the top of the list. Thanks to the results of Tuesday’s Draft lottery, Cleveland will add the No. 1 pick of the 2013 Draft to and young and talented core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson.

It was just two years ago that the Cavs won the right to select Irving with a pick acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers. This time, they won with their own pick, earned with a 24-58 record, some terrible defense, and an 8-3-6-7 combination of ping-pong balls.

A month ago, Mike Brown was rehired to fix that defense. The Cavs are the only team to rank in the bottom five in defensive efficiency each of the last three years, but ranked in the top five on that end a couple of times under Brown (and with the best player in the world).

A month from now, Cleveland will add another piece to the puzzle. Two No. 1 picks in three years is a good way to ensure both short and long-term success.

“It’s going to mean a lot,” Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said Tuesday, “because if we can pick the right guy to fit into the young core that we have now, we can be a great team for many, many years.”

Before the lottery, there was no clear No. 1 pick. No LeBron James or Anthony Davis. And there was no Big Two on the level of Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Among the top four or five talents, there’s a guy at each position, and none is a can’t miss prospect.

But with Cleveland drawing the top selection and already having Irving and Waiters in their backcourt, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel, a 6-foot-11 power forward, jumps to the top of the list. The Cavs have Thompson, Tyler Zeller (taken with the No. 17 pick last year) and the oft-injured Anderson Varejao up front, but every good team needs at least three quality big men.

The issue, of course, is that Noel won’t be available until at least Christmas, still recovering from ACL surgery in his left knee in March. And as we’ve seen in the past, training camp is a critical part of a rookie’s orientation to the league.

The Orlando Magic, who finished with a league-worst 20-62 record, will draft second, and they can use help at every position and on both ends of the floor. They have a handful of young players, but none is really a franchise anchor. Their best pieces are on the frontline, however, so they should be happy with any number of options in the backcourt, including Michigan point guard Trey Burke and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore.

In discussing the possibilities, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn talked about building a culture as much as acquiring talent.

“I trust our general manager and our scouts and their ability to find the right person who’s going into fit in our locker room,” Vaughn said.

Magic general manager Rob Hennigan, another descendant from the San Antonio Spurs’ management tree, had a similar outlook, saying that he wants to continue “to build the momentum with what we want to be about, what our identity is, what our values are, and really staying true to that.”

Like the Cavs, the Washington Wizards have a young and talented backcourt. So they will probably look to go big with the third pick, though general manager Ernie Grunfeld indicated Tuesday that he’ll look for the best player available.

“In this league, players win, regardless of what position they’re at,” Grunfeld said. “We’ll take the best player that we feel will help us, in the short term and the long term.”

44 Comments

  1. BasilBob says:

    Love this- everyone tells Cavs fans to “get over it” when their fortunes go south (yes, I mean the decision) and now are griping “how unfair” when the Cavs have the “good fortune” to be in a position to get the number 1 pick a couple of years. #1, they’ve been trading exclusively for draft picks since the decision taking on every bum contract they needed to to get them, and #2 if they didn’t stink up the joint consistantly they would have the chance to get the number 1 pick, so “get over it!”

  2. brothadudeguy says:

    how can any of you say the cavs wont be a contender within the next few years? Or atleast in the playoffs? kyrie irving=top 5 point guard and only in his second season. dion waiters= future all star once he polishes his game and becomes more comfortable with the league. cavs need to pick up a small forward but alonzo gee is a lock down defender. Thompson improves every year drastically and is already a double double guy. Anderson verejao is a top 10 center (if he can stay healthy). add McLemore or Noel to that along with a coach that WILL give Kyrie more minutes unlike byron and you have a squad that will compete with anyone in the league

  3. Freida says:

    I am a fan of LeBron so wherever he goes, I am a fan of his. I think by next year Wade will have broken down too much and Chris Bosh doesn’t play like a Center. If the Heat win this year, and I hope so, I will follow LeBron wherever he goes. I hope not the Lakers. Kobe is a ball hogger. He doesn’t make his players around him better.

    Unless Riley is going to put better pieces around LeBron, he needs to opt out and the Cav would be ideal. I don’t like Gilbert but if LeBron is able to make peace with him and Gilbert has to beg LeBron to come back and pay him big!!!

    Mike Brown is a great coach. If Gilbert would have surrounded him like MJ and Scottie Pippen, they could have won a championship. LeBron knows he can’t win alone.

  4. BillCollector1999 says:

    coulda be 3 in a row had the Pelicans not loss the tiebreaker coin-flip to cleveland.
    i was hoping we didnt fall below 3 was never expected another #1 interesting to see what the team does if they trade it or keep it

  5. Cole Wallace says:

    So, a team with one of the worst defenses in the league and a mediocre offense takes a huge leap into the playoffs by next season because they get the number one pick? What, are the teams ahead of them that missed the postseason this year (Raptors, Wizards, Sixers, Pistons) gonna tank it? Raptors and Wizards take the Bucks and Hawks playoff spots next season, not the high school varsity team Cleveland’s running out there.

  6. pro-x11 says:

    2 first picks in 3 years ? that sounds really unfair for the other teams. i don’t know why it’s decided like that but if it’s a compensation for lebron james, well. this thing has to stop.

  7. theholyspecatator says:

    cavs in the playoffs? will see after all the big trades ar done before the season starts..

  8. JAMES YAP says:

    i would have want mclemor with the cavs simply because he is really a star in the making.

  9. James Joyce says:

    You can’t explain to contrarians and negative people logic and stats. They still try to come up with cute stuff to say and call names. Every great coach has or had great players. Good or great coaches manage players and Mike Brown did that with the Cavs. Ask Lebron who got him to buy into playing tough defense and I’m sure he tell that it was Mike Brown.

  10. Big Al says:

    Using that special kid all the time to gain sympathy, how cheap can you get? Cavs will never ever win.

  11. Lover of the game/ Knick fan since Ewing says:

    mike brown aint mediocre? u puttin his pecent up like it wasnt bron dat gave it top him. he showed his self wit da lakers now lets see wat he do this time around without mr james

    • dwightairballhoward says:

      do you know how to spell “wat up wit dat” seriously how old are you

      • English Teacher says:

        F- you need a tutor. Lebron obviously helped Brown, but the “terrible supporting cast” lebron had in Cleveland won more regular season games in Lebrons last two years than Lebrons 1st two years with D Wade and Bosh in Mia.

      • neem says:

        what arew you talking about ‘english teahcer” Miami won way more games than cleveland in the two years since the trade, back to back finals appearances in the first two years…stick to teaching english. Its kind of sad to hear all the cleveland fans believing lebrons going to come back to you some day….NOPE

  12. LeBron James says:

    Next year I have decided to go back to the cavs and make things right. Since cavs future looks bright now.

    pg: Irving- 1st pick
    sg: Waiters 4th pick
    sf: leBron 1st pick
    pf: thompson 4th pick
    c: Noel 1st pick

    trade varejao and we would have enough money bring in another top name free agent.

  13. Dennis says:

    Draft Porter, not Noel. Then trade Varejao for a good big man from the ones that are available in this draft (Zeller, Olynyk, Len, Whithey etc.) But not Noel. Obviously a great talent, but all he can do right now is rebounds and blocks, plus he has the ACL. There are so many big men in this draft with great offensive game. Plus with Porter you can trade him to the Heat with James decides to return in Cleveland in 2014.

    • dwightairballhoward says:

      varejao is good for them and lebron will never come back if he keeps winning in miami, who wants to go to a worse then mediocre team

    • Matt says:

      I hope they do draft Porter. If they don’t trade out of the #1, which is a possibility. Draft Porter and move back into top 12 and take Len. Irving, SG (free agent this year), Porter, TT and AV (with Len/Zeller) back up and Dion being 6th man, thats a great start right there. Much better defensively (longer and more athletic) and a few guys more who can score. Add to that Gee and Ellington (leadership) and you have a good 10 to really work with.

  14. J says:

    take mclemore cavs who even knows if noel will be as good as he was

  15. J says:

    did anyone see how awkward adam silver was acting when he announced it and he just went off ….. ok then

  16. Bstarr says:

    Cavs again???? Poor MJ……..LOL

  17. Jay says:

    Steve Adams was the outstanding player at combine… He needs to go top 10 for sure…

  18. manny says:

    Man how many top picks do you need in order to have a winning season. honestly there should be a rule that should make team wait a few years before getting the top pick

    • James says:

      Before Orlando got the top two picks in a row, but for the second pick they traded Chris Webber and they had a 41-41 season the year before

  19. pokie says:

    I don’t ever want to see that kid again.

    • dillonJAMES says:

      Complain…. Complain……complain…….. Thats all I see….. Complain……. Complain………making fun of an inocent child with a medical.problem……… Complain. GIVE IT A REST STFU!!!!!!!!

      • Geiffrey Sorkin says:

        I don’t think any Cavalier fan wants to see him there ever again. They want to see him with his dad when Cleveland wins titles

  20. D.Smith says:

    I would draft Wiggins like Boston did when they drafted Larry Bird, I can wait a year for him.

  21. UncleDrew2 says:

    cavs and wizards going to playoffs next year! bye bye milwaukee and atlanta

  22. A.J. says:

    If there is any franchise in the NBA that does not deserve luck, it’s a business fronted by Con Man Dan. He’s cheated the season-ticket holders for three years now. What’s worst, he doesn’t care, he’s still making money.

  23. Jimbo says:

    Man.. my team needs a little dude to attend the draft lottery so we can start winning!!!

  24. da best says:

    Cleveland should trade they’re first round picks to miami for lebron james and then the heat can take noel which will shore up they’re front court and cleveland will then become an instant contender as will miami!!!!!!

    • Jimbo says:

      If the Cavs “cave” for 3 more years they might build up enough prospects to be a contender. Right now it looks like they are headed to NBA mediocrity “can’t win, can’t lose”, so to speak.

    • dukooter says:

      Hahahahhahajahaha! That is great.

  25. steppx says:

    cavs have, now, a third rate coach…………this love for a guy with a proven mediocre record is amazing.,

    • Bigmatta23 says:

      If you call a 66% winning percentage and 57% in the playoffs mediocre, you need help.
      If you call 4 50+ winning seasons and 2 60+ winning seasons out of 6 full seasons mediocre, you need help
      If you call making it to the playoffs every year and advancing to atleast the semis every year mediocre, you need help.
      Mediocre is Byron Scott, Mediocre is Randy Wittman, Mediocre is Lawrence Frank, Jim Boylan and Scott Skiles.
      Mike Brown is not mediocre.

      • AM says:

        80% of all that things that you just said, were thanks to LeBron being on the team.

      • J says:

        agreed:)

      • Matt says:

        @AM & J: with your reasoning he’s a mediocre coach, though not as mediocre as Phil Jackson. Jackson won a load of titles but had Michael and Scotty and Shaq and Kobe, Man, if that isn’t mediocre….

      • dwightairballhoward says:

        its real hard to be a great coach with lebron doing everthing ha your an idiot

      • dwightairballhoward says:

        its a little ironic how the cavs that dont have the worst recod keep getting the number 1 pick

      • DJ3 says:

        Keep getting? We got it 2 out of three years, it’s our fifth in franchise history, you must be a Magic fan if you think its “ironic” and that we “keep getting” the no. 1 pick.

      • James Joyce says:

        Duh, @dwightairballhoward please pay attention to the NBA draft history and realize that the team with the worst record seldom gets the #1 draft choice. Did New Orleans have the worst record last year? Duh, no! Did Derrick Rose go to the team with the worst record? Huh!? Come on man! Wake up and pay attention.