July 24, 2014

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This year’s NBA draft might be weak, but Cavaliers still want first pick

INDEPENDENCE — There’s no overwhelming, franchise-changing grand prize like LeBron James in 2003, but the Cavaliers would still love to win the NBA Draft lottery tonight.

Nothing is etched in stone, but the consensus No. 1 pick is considered to be 6-foot-11 Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel, though he is raw and won’t be ready to play until around Christmas due to ACL surgery.

The Cavs, who can pick anywhere between No. 1 and No. 6 in the June 27 NBA Draft, also are likely interested in Georgetown small forward Otto Porter, shooting guards Ben McLemore (Kansas) and Victor Oladipo (Indiana) and Maryland center Alex Len.

In addition, Cleveland has the 19th pick in the first round and the first and third picks in the second round (31st and 33rd overall) in what is considered to be one of the weakest drafts in years.

For now, though, the Cavs are hoping Nick Gilbert, the son of Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, can duplicate his 2011 performance onstage at the lottery, where Cleveland secured the No. 1 pick and used it to take future NBA Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.

Cavs minority owner Jeff Cohen will represent the team backstage, where the actual selection order is determined minutes before the ESPN-televised 8:30 p.m. proceedings from ABC Disney’s Times Square Studios in New York City.

The Cavs, who finished with the third-worst record in the league (24-58), will have a 15.6 percent chance of landing the first pick, a 15.7 percent chance of getting the No. 2 pick and a 15.6 percent chance of selecting No. 3.

Cleveland also has a 22.6 percent chance at getting the fourth pick, a 26.5 percent chance at the fifth pick and a 4.0 percent chance at No. 6.

It really means nothing, but lottery history is on the Cavs’ side. While this is the 29th year of the lottery, it’s the 20th with the current weighted system. In five of the first 19 years, the team that had the third-best chance ended up landing the
No. 1 pick in the draft. No other slot has won more often than the one Cleveland will occupy tonight.

Orlando, which finished with the worst record in the league, has the best chance of winning the lottery at 25.0 percent, while Charlotte’s chances are 19.9 percent.

In addition to Dan and Nick Gilbert, the Cavs’ traveling party will include Fox Sports Ohio play-by-play man Fred McLeod, WTAM-1100 AM’s Mike Snyder and radio sports talk show hosts Tony Rizzo and Andy Baskin, as well as two fans.

One fan, Brecksville’s Gerry Burma, was randomly selected from the franchise’s Wine & Gold United members, while the other, Wadsworth’s Tate Moore, won a Twitter contest conducted by Dan Gilbert.

In the Twitter contest, fans were asked to explain in a 30-second video why they should be selected to go to the lottery. Moore won with a sequence of events that backed up his original claim, “I’m a lucky dude.”

Tonight

  • WHAT: NBA Draft lottery
  • TIME: 8:30
  • WHERE: ABC Disney’s Times Square studios
  • TV: ESPN
  • AT STAKE: The No. 1 pick in the June 27 NBA Draft. Cavs can pick anywhere from first to sixth.

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.