INDEPENDENCE — The Cavaliers’ season finale against the Brooklyn Nets tonight at Quicken Loans Arena is going to be about games of chance.
Over the course of the evening, more than $1 million in prizes will be given out as part of Fan Appreciation Night, and from a basketball standpoint the game could have NBA Draft Lottery implications.
At 32-49, the Cavs have the ninth-worst record in the league, but if they win tonight and New Orleans loses at home to Houston, the teams will tie for the ninth- and 10th-worst marks.
If that happens, the teams will split the lottery chances of the ninth and 10th spots, with a coin flip determining who gets the one extra ball when odd numbers are involved.
Here’s how it breaks down: If the Cavs finish alone with the ninth-worst record, they will have a 6.1 percent chance of getting a top-three pick through the May 20 lottery. Their chances would be 1.7 percent of getting the top pick, 2.0 percent of getting the second pick and 2.4 percent of getting the third pick.
If the Cavs end up tied with the Pelicans, they will have a 5.0 or 5.1 percent chance of getting a top-three pick, depending on the results of a coin flip. Regardless, Cleveland’s chances of getting the first pick would be 1.4 percent and its chances of getting the third pick would be 2.0 percent. If it wins the coin flip, it would have a 1.7 chance of getting the second pick. If it loses, its chances would be 1.6 percent.
Interestingly, New Orleans traded its first-round pick to Philadelphia as part of the deal that brought point guard Jrue Holiday to the Pelicans. It is protected and stays with New Orleans this year only if it ends up being in the top five.
The Cavs have won the lottery two of the last three years with Nick Gilbert, the son of owner Dan Gilbert, representing the franchise onstage.
In 2011, Cleveland had a 19.9 percent chance of getting the top pick by virtue of finishing with the second-worst record in the league (19-63), but ended up landing Kyrie Irving through a 2.8 percent chance it acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Mo Williams trade. The Clippers had the eighth-worst record that season. The Cavs’ own pick fell to No. 4, where the team selected Tristan Thompson.
In 2013, Cleveland had a 15.6 percent chance of getting the top pick after finishing with the third-worst record (24-58) and won the lottery again. The Cavs selected Anthony Bennett.
The odds will be much lower this year, but everyone in attendance at The Q tonight will go home with at least a Cavs T-shirt. At the end of the game, 15 fans will receive Cavs jerseys from the Nets game and 15 others will receive the players’ shoes.
Other notable prizes include free electric generation for a year courtesy of FirstEnergy Solutions, a Zero Turn Mower courtesy of Cub Cadet, free pizza for a year courtesy of Georgio’s and special getaway packages to hotels, spas, golf courses and resorts.
Cavs forward Luol Deng, who won’t play tonight due to a sore back, was the 2013-14 winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award. Voted on by members of the Professional Basketball Writers Association, the award is given annually to an NBA player, coach or trainer who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.
“Sometimes helping others is a selfish move,” Deng said Tuesday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “It’s selfish because it makes me happy.”
Deng, an unrestricted free agent who is unlikely to stay in Cleveland, recorded a public service announcement for EnoughProject.org, urging peace during a time of renewed conflict in his native South Sudan.
Deng is involved in a number of international causes, including the Luol Deng Foundation, a global non-profit organization that uses basketball as a platform to give hope to people in Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The work in Africa focuses on building outdoor basketball courts and delivering initiatives to bring together local communities. Two courts funded by Deng will open this summer and include 12 hoops, locker rooms and basketball gear.
“There’s so much to be done,” Deng said. “I hope (winning the award) brings more attention to what I’m trying to do, more awareness, and people can go and read stuff and learn more about what is going on.”
Previous Cavs players to win the award were Austin Carr (1979-80) and Eric Snow (2004-05).
Guard Jarrett Jack was the winner of the Austin Carr Good Guy Award, as voted on by the local chapter of the PBWA. Named after Cavs great and Fox Sports Ohio television analyst Carr, it is given annually to a Cleveland player who is cooperative and understanding with the media.
Previous winners were Luke Walton, Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison, Jamario Moon, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Damon Jones, Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes. None of the previous winners lasted the entire next season in Cleveland.