It wasn't conventional and it wasn't pretty, especially if you are a Minnesota or a Clippers fan, but the Cleveland Cavaliers have walked away from Tuesday nights draft lottery with the number 1 and 4 picks in the draft.
Blessed with an additional pick from a midseason trade with the Los Angeles Clippers, the Cavaliers entered the evening with two shots at getting the coveted top pick. Their own pick, thanks to the second worst record in the league, had a 19% chance of grabbing gold while the Clippers pick, who's record landed them 8th, had a 2% chance. The Draft night started out conventional enough with picks 14 thru 9 coming up as they were predicted to, then came the Clippers pick at 8, which avoided the dreaded grab and was unbelievably whisked down to the top 3.
As the picks marched down to three, it incredibly looked like Cleveland might luck out with two top 3 picks, but their high percentage pick was pulled 4th, leaving the Cavaliers with only the longshot Clippers pick with the only shot at landing number 1.
But as things would have it, lady luck was on their side.
The Utah Jazz, via a pick they got from the New Jersey Nets, got pulled third while the Timberwolves got yanked second, leaving the little engine that could Clippers pick as the sole survivor of this draft. As the Cavs representative to the draft, Nick Gilbert (son of Dan Gilbert), jumped for joy when the news broke, so did an entire Cavs nation that was sorely pressed for some good news after they saw their franchise tumble from first to second worst with the departure of LeBron James.
"It's sort of Nick fashion. He has been doing it his whole life to some degree. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of the way he carried himself and I am very excited for the fans of Cleveland, Ohio who have been through a very, very rough year," Dan Gilbert said. "They deserve it more than anybody and they have some good hope now."
The lottery isn't a guarantee fix in any sense of the term but it is a chance to start the rebuilding on a positive note and with two top 5 picks in a draft that many consider weak but has a few top heavy pieces, that rebuilding can get going at a much faster pace. Throw in the $14 million trade exception as well as some valuable trade assets and the Cavs have a chance to regain relevancy far faster than anyone anticipated.
So, in the words of the wise Nick Gilbert…
“What's not to like?”
1. Cleveland (from L.A. Clippers) .
3. Utah (from New Jersey)
11. Golden State
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