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.
7. Los Angeles Lakers
9. Charlotte (via Detroit)
10. Philadelphia (via New Orleans)
12. Orlando (from New York via Denver)
The rest of the draft (non-lottery):
16. Chicago (via Charlotte)
17. Boston (via Brooklyn
18. Phoenix (via Washington)
21. Oklahoma City (via Dallas, Houston and LA Lakers)
23. Utah (via Golden State)
24. Charlotte (via Portland)
27. Phoenix (via Indiana)
28. LA Clippers
29. Oklahoma City
30. San Antonio