David Stern once boasted that he knows “where the bodies are buried.” But with the run that the Cleveland Cavaliers are having, one has to wonder whether it is actually Dan Gilbert who holds the league secrets. This feels like the only logical explanation for how Cleveland has won the NBA Draft Lottery for the third time in four years.
For years, if the franchise had any luck at all it had to be bad luck. Cleveland sports fans in general have been tortured to the point that fans and media have joked that god must hate Cleveland. One need look no further than the celebration that took place mere weeks ago when the Browns were able to draft Johnny Manziel. Fans in Ohio are begging for something exciting to happen…for a team to cheer for…and mainly for something to go right.
And now the Cavaliers are the envy of fans throughout the NBA. Despite having won just 97 games total over the last four seasons, for a winning percentage of only .311, the Cavaliers have the opportunity to add to their already young core of players
Statistical anomaly doesn’t even begin to describe the run that the Cleveland Cavaliers are on in regards to their lottery luck. Cleveland jumped ahead of the eight teams who finished below them in the standings and landed the top selection with a 1.7 percent chance of doing so. The odds were slightly better last year, with the Cavaliers having a 15.6 percent chance of walking away with the top selection (which they used on Anthony Bennett). But to win both?
— SportsAnalytics Blog (@SAnalyticsBlog) May 21, 2014
A 0.26 percent chance? That’s ridiculous! This doesn’t even bring in the mere 2.8 percent chance the Cavaliers had when they selected Kyrie Irving in 2011. Granted, their own pick that year had a much higher chance of winning (19.9 percent), but it was the pick they acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers that was the lucky one. All in all, the Cavaliers should simply not be where they are.
And that’s where much of the frustration lies for Cavalier fans. The team shouldn’t be as bad as they are. Six first-round draft picks in the last three years, including four top-four selections (Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, and Anthony Bennett), and two first overall selections … they simply shouldn’t have been in the lottery this year. That doesn’t even consider the in-season acquisitions of Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes.
And now? The opportunity exists to add one of Andrew Wiggins (Cleveland needs more Canadians, right?), Joel Embiid (the talented big man with potential medical concerns), or Jabari Parker (the potent scorer with defensive limitations). Each are generally thought to be in consideration for the top selection, and all are believed by many to have a chance of becoming stars in the league.
Before the draft lottery took place, rumors had already begun to circle that the Cavaliers would attempt to trade their draft pick for proven NBA veterans in an attempt to compete immediately. Even if this may still be a consideration that Cleveland considers, the fish they plan to catch would now have to be much bigger than previously anticipated.
Although the selection is unknown, one thing is for sure … it once again feels like the Cavaliers have hope, and the anticipation will only build as we get closer to June 26.