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

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

Associated Press
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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.