Cavs see, believe another lottery win

By Lang Whitaker, NBA.com


VIDEO: Cleveland is No. 1 again … in the lottery

NEW YORK CITY — Against all odds, the Cleveland Cavaliers did it again.

After successfully winning the NBA Draft lottery in two of the last three years, and three times in the last decade, on Tuesday night the Cavs once again won the NBA Draft lottery. Despite having just a 1.7 percent chance of landing the top choice, the ping-pong balls once again bounced Cleveland’s way.

“It was incredible when Cleveland didn’t pop up at nine,” said newly appointed Cavaliers general manager David Griffin. “I knew obviously we’d moved up, and I had to gather myself for a second. Just a remarkable, remarkable feeling.”

Three years ago the Cavs landed in the lottery with a first-round choice acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers, and selected Kyrie Irving. Last year they used their own pick to draft Anthony Bennett first overall.

While at the moment the Cavs are still without a coach — Griffin termed the search in its “infancy” — Cleveland will be able to pair its top pick with an athletic young core led by former lottery picks Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Bennett. The Cavaliers have several options with the first overall pick, with the ability to choose from a pool of quality players including cream of the crop Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid.

“I don’t think there’s a clear cut No. 1 in most drafts,” Griffin said. “And I think people when they say that, they have a really strong feeling for one player over another, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a consensus in most drafts.”

Of course, having all these first overall picks is a nice luxury, but being in the lottery year after year also signals you’re regularly missing the playoffs. At some point, the talent the Cavs have stockpiled has to coalesce into a playoff team. Perhaps that time is now.

“We’re very open-minded,” Griffin said. “We’re going to try to get radically better, much quicker. We really feel like there’s a sense of urgency about improving our team as a whole, and we’re going to look for the right fit in that, and we’re very open-minded about what that means.”

Representing the Cavs in the sealed room where the actual drawing took place was Jeff Cohen, the team’s Vice Chairman and the man who has been in the back room for the drawings the last four years. Cohen said he went into the draft clinging to a maxim from what he termed “a book of isms” that said, “You can believe it when you see it.” So as the ping-pong balls ricocheted around the machine, Cohen tried to visualize the Cavs’ winning numbers being drawn.

When the numbers 13, 7, 9 and 14 were drawn, it was announced that this combination would give Cleveland the first pick. Cohen’s hands went to his head, which slowly shook back-and-forth, trying to process their good fortune. He saw it, but he couldn’t believe it. “It was surreal, just … surreal,” Cohen said.

For his own good luck charm, Griffin had a lucky bow tie belonging to Nick Gilbert, son of Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert, tucked into his jacket pocket out on the television set. (“I didn’t wear it because nobody else could swing Thor’s hammer,” said Griffin.)

Other than the Cavs leaping to the top of the draft, the rest of the picks fell as planned, which meant some premier franchises such as Boston and Los Angeles weren’t able to leapfrog into the rarefied lottery air.

“You’re sitting over there, pretty much naked, and there’s nothing you can do about it,” said James Worthy, a former No. 1 pick who sat on the podium as a representative of the Los Angeles Lakers. “Most of the guys who are sitting up there, when you’re under the pressure they respond by making a great play or shooting a big basket. But when you’re sitting over there, you’re just a sitting duck waiting.

“You get nervous, my heart started pounding a little bit,” Worthy added. “But then we came up at seven, I was like, ‘Damn!’ But nevertheless, it is what it is.”

21 Comments

  1. Marco29 says:

    How can such a lame front office be so lucky to have four first picks in 4 years, 4 in 11 years? They are lucky the draft is so deep this year that even they can make such a big mistake as Benett with the top pick.
    Maybe it will be time for them to hire some veterans to guide the young crew if they want to go anywhere.

  2. Jim says:

    This is why me and my friends are not Season ticket holders anymore. NBA is fake. I barely watch nba now a days… Watch closely how the ref calls the game, and you can start to see that every game is rigged… Nba is trying too hard to entertain people.. Starting to look like the WWE.

  3. Bucks4Life says:

    Initially I was upset. Then that feeling subsided. History to account, they will waste this pick like their previous ones. And also good for the Bucks draft pick to not feel the pressure of going #1.

  4. A.J. says:

    Even the guy named in the story is indicative of how horrible Gilbert’s organization is. Jeff Cohen became a minority owner because Gilbert screwed minority owner David Katzman. Katzman sold his share to escape Gilbert.
    It’s criminal that Gilbert runs such a horrible leaky ship, but keeps on smelling like roses.

  5. jdub455 says:

    Finally, wiggins is a solid reason to let go of deng… pretty athletic team now with kyrie leading the way…

  6. I sincerely hope that the Cavs don’t draft Wiggins, Parker, or Embiid. Their organization is just a mess. Those players’ talents will go to waste if they end up in Cleveland. What a waste of a first pick.

  7. Fefe (Nets) says:

    People:

    Anthony Bennett will NOT be a bust. He had three things going on this year: injury, lack of opportunity & lack of confidence.
    But the raw talent is clearly here. With full dedication to working out & improving, he can definitely play.
    For the people to call him a bust – he didn’t even get quality minutes – it’s stupid.

    You don’t judge a draft pick after 1 year (especially one where he played little & played bad due to being out of shape & injured all the time). Give him time.

    Yes he had a bad year…but he’ll improve.

    I remember ppl calling Griffin a bust (because he had his rookie season transferred)…lol now look where he is.

    As for 2014: I don’t see how the Cavs can make a mistake: they go either Embiid, Wiggins or Parker. I think all 3 are very safe picks anyway

  8. jaybee says:

    go ahead people. use cleveland as a pincushion. the commenters here bashing cleveland are pretty much losers as the teams in cleveland over the last 30 years.

  9. Zero says:

    RIGGED!!!

    • cp10 says:

      shyeah, this obviously isn’t random chance, why aren’t owners protesting against Dan Gilbert?

  10. kek says:

    This must be rigged, how can this happen?:D

    it wouldnt suprise me if cleveland managed to screw this draft up aswell.

    Doug Mcdermot nr 1 pick inc:D

  11. ,jsdnckjasd says:

    NBA = WWE

  12. MarvinC says:

    Hope they don’t waste the pick…..

  13. Hhe says:

    I think the cavs need to draft embiid. Than hopefully lebron sees te talent the cavs has and will return to cleveland in the 2015-2016 season. ( I also hope bennet will play better next season). It will be a top 3 sqaud and a serious championsip contender.

  14. nobodyreally says:

    3 #1 picks in 4 years and they still a lottery team, what up!?

  15. Cavs Another BUST? says:

    I really hope they draft another Anthony Bennett. We all know that dude is a WINNER by all definitions!!! Just look at the utter ridiculous season he had.. Folks! I don’t care what everyone else is saying, but am calling it right now of Anthony Bennett. BUST!!!!!! THE BIGGEST BUST of all time is what this guy has the great fortune to look forward to for years to come. The NBA should rethink their lottery system immediately! We can’t have teams like the CAVS throwing away their season and get rewarded year over year over year for under performance. Here is a suggestion, put a minimum winning percentage as in place to have the rights to the #1 overall pick. If you don’t hit that winning percentage you lose your right to be in the top 10 picks. This will ultimately force bad teams to win either by trading and stop relying on drafts, which they stink at picking draft picks anyway. I hate rewarding losers every year!

  16. Gillsy says:

    I can see the Cleveland offering Tristan Thompson and the first pick for Love

  17. Fixed – Lebron, as some think, won’t go to Cleveland no matter who they pick but to a winning team/history like LA, Boston, or stay in Miami.

  18. call says:

    lets see how many number ones they can get till the reach the palyoffs