David Griffin Cleveland Cavaliers Draft lottery

Lottery hands Cleveland Cavaliers No. 1 pick in NBA Draft. Again.

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It’s on new GM David Griffin not to blow this one.

For the second year in a row the Cleveland Cavaliers have won the NBA Draft Lottery and will select No. 1 in the upcoming NBA Draft (June 26). The Cavaliers won the lottery with the ninth-best odds — they had a 1.7 percent chance of getting the top pick. But the basketball gods like them. The Milwaukee Bucks will draft No. 2, the Philadelphia 76ers third.

All are assured a top flight player — likely one of Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker. At least so long as Griffin doesn’t go off the rails with his pick like his predecessor.

This is the third time the Cavaliers will select No. 1 since LeBron James left them for Miami (the past four years). That’s a lot of Karma (and they didn’t need Dan Gilbert’s son Nick on the podium this year, it was Griffin).

The Cavs had the top pick last year and in a down draft then GM Chris Grant surprised everyone by selecting Anthony Bennett of UNLV, a guy who was injured and was already considered a project. He had just about as bad a rookie year one could have, with a PER of 1.1 midway through the season that climbed all the way up to a “not sure this guy lasts in the D-League” 6.9 by the end of the season.

But they have some interesting pieces, starting with Kyrie Irving (who will get a max contract extension this summer and he will sign it). Guys like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson can be rotation players. This might spur Luol Deng or Spencer Hawes, two free agents, to consider staying. The Cavs have an open coaching vacancy that just got a lot more attractive.

The biggest loser with the Cavaliers leapfrogging everyone is the Detroit Pistons — by falling one spot from the No. 8 slot their pick goes to the Charlotte Bobcats, part of the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette trade. Stan Van Gundy did not bring the Pistons luck.

Here is the first round draft order for the 2014 NBA Draft.

1. Cleveland
2. Milwaukee
3. Philadelphia
4. Orlando
5. Utah
6. Boston
7. Los Angeles Lakers
8. Sacramento
9. Charlotte (via Detroit)
10. Philadelphia (via New Orleans)
11. Denver
12. Orlando (from New York via Denver)
13. Minnesota
14. Phoenix

The rest of the draft (non-lottery):

15. Atlanta
16. Chicago (via Charlotte)
17. Boston (via Brooklyn
18. Phoenix (via Washington)
19. Chicago
20. Toronto
21. Oklahoma City (via Dallas, Houston and LA Lakers)
22. Memphis
23. Utah (via Golden State)
24. Charlotte (via Portland)
25. Houston
26. Miami
27. Phoenix (via Indiana)
28. LA Clippers
29. Oklahoma City
30. San Antonio

Watch Spurs’ Dejounte Murray throw off-the-backboard alley-oop to himself in pickup game

Washington guard Dejounte Murray, center, dribbles the ball past Mount St. Mary's center Taylor Danaher (50) as Washington forward Marquese Chriss, right, watches duirng the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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Just a suggestion for rookie Dejounte Murray: Don’t do this in front of Gregg Popovich. You may not like his reaction.

That said, the Spurs needed to get more athletic this off-season — landing Pau Gasol certainly didn’t help that cause — so enter first-round pick Murray, who pulled this off in a recent pickup game.

Murray is going to be brought along slowly in a backcourt where Tony Parker and Patty Mills will be splitting time at the point. Murray is more of a combo guard and is going to have to shoot a lot better than he did in college (28.8 percent from three) to get some run. But this is a situation where the Spurs can groom him, bring him along slowly, and see if they have another draft steal.

He’s certainly got the athleticism.

Corey Brewer: “James (Harden) is going to play defense this year”

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 18:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets walks across the court during their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Toyota Center on March 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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James Harden‘s defense is not as bad as its reputation.

Well, at least it wasn’t two seasons ago — his near MVP season he was in good enough shape that he could put in a respectable effort on that end and still handle his massive offensive load. There were still some mental lapses, but his focus was better and his improvement lifted the team defense. Last season, he regressed back to youtube “highlight” defense Harden — his conditioning was not where it needed to be, he didn’t expend as much effort on that end, and it showed.

Harden got a massive contract extension this summer, and Dwight Howard is Atlanta’s problem — now Harden has to lead the Rockets. By example. Corey Brewer told ESPN you’re going to see that on defense.

“I think this year he’s going to play better defense, We’re going to let the past be in the past. It’s the future of the Rockets, man. James is going to play defense this year.”

We’re all Missourians on this one: Show me.

Remember that the Rockets will be out and running — Mike D’Antoni is the coach now, and Daryl Morey is going to get the up tempo ball he wants (which Kevin McHale had them doing, but Harden didn’t like him so…). D’Antoni’s teams in Phoenix played better defense than their reputation — points per possession they were middle of the pack — but that has never been his focus.

Will Harden be able to run like he needs to on offense and still defend at a reasonable level?

If he can, it’s a big step toward the Rockets being a dangerous team in the West because if he does it others will follow. Otherwise, every Rockets game will be a shootout, which is entertaining but not going to get a team deep into the playoffs.

 

Watch Drake hit a half court shot while doing a situp

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26:  Singer Drake celebrates after Terrance Ross #31 of the Toronto Raptors sinks a 3-pointer in the second half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Indiana Pacers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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I can see the questions on Twitter/in the comments already so let me save you some time.

Because it’s summer.

Because it’s Drake (he’s a celebrity and an NBA hanger-on with some quasi-official position with the Raptors).

Because Stephen Curry did it, too.

Because what other hoops are you watching on a late August afternoon?

And besides, you clicked on it. You know you want to see it.

So here it is, Drake, hitting a halfcourt shot while doing a sit up. Enjoy.

FOR THE KIA!!!!! @highlighthub @bleacherreport

A video posted by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Mario Chalmers says he’s cleared to play

Memphis Grizzlies guard Mario Chalmers moves the ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015, in Washington. Chalmers was ejected in the first half. The Wizards won 100-91. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
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Mario Chalmers was thriving with the Grizzlies after a midseason trade from the Heat when a torn Achilles ended his season.

Not the way Chalmers wanted to enter free agency.

Still unsigned, he says he’s progressing.

Chalmers:

Can he go 100%, though? If not, when?

A few teams could use another point guard. If Chalmers shows his health, he belongs in someone’s rotation. But that might require taking a low-paying deal and working his way up from the third point guard spot – or even just onto the regular-season roster.