NBA Draft Lottery Basketball

Cavaliers bask in another lottery victory


Two years ago, Nick Gilbert made famous his catch phrase – “What’s not to like?” – when his father’s Cavaliers won the NBA Draft lottery with Nick as the team’s on-stage representative.

Since, Nick has been asked many times, “What’s not to like?” by interviewers who expect a response without considering that the phrase is rhetorical. Nick was asked the question again Tuesday night at the 2013 lottery, and for the first time, I heard him give a good response to the inherently impossible-to-answer question.

“Well, where I’m at now is the lottery,” Nick said.

Nick’s first lucky break, which resulted in Kyrie Irving, hasn’t helped the Cavaliers escape the dredges of the NBA. But Nick was all business Tuesday in doing his best to help Cleveland get another boost.

Once the top three picks were revealed to belong to the Cavaliers, Wizards and Magic, their representatives left their podiums and stood next to each other as ESPN’s cameras zoomed in on each individually.

Nick held a straight face as long as he could before smiling. Washington’s Bradley Beal also tried to keep a straight face, but he succumbed to smiling even sooner than Nick did. Pat Williams, who had already won the lottery twice with the Magic, immediately flashed a huge grin and gave two thumbs up.

Of course, the Cavaliers won, and Nick dropped any hints of sternness. He celebrated with large group of Clevelanders and honorary Clevelanders, most of them sporting bowties and some, including Dan Gilbert, wearing gaudy wine-red blazers with a Cavaliers logo.

“We’re going to be right back in it next year in a big way,” Dan Gilbert said with one arm around Nick.

Just behind that embrace, Tate Moore fiddled nervously with his phone.

Moore won a Cavaliers contest by submitting a video that explained why he would bring luck to the Cavaliers, earning  a trip to New York with the Cleveland contingent. Now, he was trying to use his phone to take a photo, but a non-stop flood of tweets and texts prevented the device from having any use.

The lone break in Cleveland’s good fortune didn’t last long, as Moore was fortunate enough to find someone who could help with his phone. Is he really as luck as he said in his video, or was it an act?

“Going into it, I would say I would do anything to win a contest,” Moore said. “But, hey, I came here, and we won the lottery. So, maybe it is true.”

Even on the flight to New York, Moore and Nick Gilbert routed a couple media members in euchre, a card game we like to play in Ohio, Michigan and Canada.

“Me and Nick, we can’t be beat,” Moore said.

Cleveland can’t win Super Bowls, World Series or NBA Championships. But the city sure can win lotteries.

Posing for pictures, Nick held up two index fingers to signify the Cavaliers’ two No. 1 picks in the last there years.

After the festivities died down, Pat Williams sat to the side of the studio with nobody at his side, hunched over and tuckered out. Bradley Beal hid in a corner behind some cameras to type on his phone.

And, somewhere, Nick Gilbert was smiling without any attempt to stifle it.

Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)

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Stephen Curry said the defending-champion Warriors would have no problem picking up where they left off.

His swagger certainly remains intact.

Knicks associate head coach: Porzingis might be combination of Gasol, Nowitzki

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

Knicks president Phil Jackson compared New York’s No. 4 overall pick, Kristaps Porzingis, to Shawn Bradley.

Porzingis resisted that comparison, but he might appreciate these ones – to Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki – a little more.

Knicks associate head coach Kurt Rambis, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

Perhaps the most successful European big men in recent times are Gasol, whom Rambis coached, and Nowitzki.

“He might be a combination of both of them,’’ Rambis said. ‘He can do so many things. You guys haven’t seen it yet. And some of it won’t come out for three, four, five years either. He’s got to grow up, mature, develop, get stronger and [get] used to the NBA game. He already understands basketball and knows what to do, and he’s an unselfish player. He makes really good decisions. It wasn’t like he was a blank slate coming here.’’

Aside from his intensive work ethic, Porzingis also has an unprecedented gift.

“He’s got 3-point range — like effortless 3-point range, too,’’ Rambis said. “It’s not even hard for him to shoot for distance.’’

I like Porzingis and think he has a bright NBA future, but is piling this level of praise on him really a good idea? Rambis adds the caveats that it could take years for Porzingis’ talent to translate, but this still sets up an incredibly high ceiling for Porzingis to reach.

Jackson and Knicks coach Derek Fisher had done a good job of keeping expectations in line, praising Porzingis’ work ethic and modest progress. Jackson might have gone too far with the Bradley comparison, but at least he limited the hype.

Rambis needs to show more perspective. Many rookies flash amazing potential before their first game. Far fewer become Hall of Famers. Ditto rookies who drill 3-pointers in practice relative to those who do it in games.

I still think Porzingis will be fine, and maybe in New York, an overhyping is inevitable. I’m just not sure Rambis is doing Porzingis any favors by contributing to it.