The NBA lottery is tonight at 8:30, and the Cleveland Cavaliers have two spots in the lottery. This is the closest thing to the playoffs for us fans in Cleveland besides the joy of watching the Heat lose.
This is also the playoffs for the other 14 teams* who did not get into the real playoffs this year.
* – This does not include the Clippers who gave their lottery pick to the Cavs in the deal that sent Baron Davis to Cleveland in exchange for Mo Williams. The Nets also gave up their pick to Utah in exchange for Deron Williams.
For the teams who nearly missed the playoffs – Phoenix, Houston, and Utah – being in the lottery does not mean too much. They will not get the top prospects, and they still missed out on the playoffs. There is the possibility that a great talent can drop past the top ten, but it is unlikely. Chad Ford of ESPN has Jimmer Fredette going 13th. He is a great prospect who could pan out as a successful NBA player, but he could also end up as a bust. This is why the NBA draft, and really any draft in any sport, is so tricky.
The Timberwolves have the best chance of winning the lottery, but that certainly does not mean that they will get the first pick. Last year, the Nets had the worst record and ended up with the third pick, missing out on John Wall. The T’Wolves are notoriously bad at drafting, as they always seem to take a point guard. Dropping out of the race for Kyrie Irving might actually be good for them, as they have stockpiled so many point guards over the last few years. They must begin to start having better drafts if they ever want to get out of the lottery.
The Cavs have the second and eighth best odds in the lottery. The second best odds mean that they have a great shot at getting the top pick. Owner Dan Gilbert is sending his son Nick, who he calls the luckiest kid he knows. Nick has the rare disease Neurofibromatosis, and has already had numerous surgeries. He has been strong and has been fighting through it his entire life. Hopefully Nick’s determination and luck can bring some top picks back to Cleveland.
Once the draft comes around, there will be some players chosen that few people have heard of due to the fact that they are foreign-based players. These include Bismarck Biyombo of the Congo, Enes Kanter of Turkey, and Jan Vesely of the Czech Republic. They will surely be talked about after the lottery is completed and when teams are preparing their prospect lists. Many fans would rather take players that they already know, but as seen by the success of players like Dirk Nowitzki, foreign talent can often be better than our notable college stars.
The playoffs for the non-playoff teams will conclude around 9pm tonight, and a few teams will be disappointed. I am hoping that the Cavs are not one of these teams. The last time they had the #1 pick they took a certain LeBron James. Although he is now a villain, no Cleveland fan would be upset with another player of his caliber – though, unfortunately, it does not appear that this year’s draft possesses any individual player who can even compare to James.