We witnessed the cold envelope in 1985 when the New York Knicks miraculously got the number one pick and center Patrick Ewing.
Now, did we just witness the LeBron tax draft lottery as the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up the first and fourth selections of the 2011 draft less than a year after LeBron James bolted the team for the Miami Heat? It seems kind of fishy.
And who gets screwed? Yes, you guessed it. It is your Pistons who dropped from seventh to eighth in the lottery and will end up with a project big man. Poor Joe Dumars. Can a brother get a break?
He not only will end up with table scraps in the draft, but he can’t even fire coach John Kuester until the Pistons purchase is officially approved by the NBA Board of Governors next month.
No owner was more upset than Dan Gilbert after James announced he was leaving during “The Decision” on national television. It was a punch to the stomach for Gilbert and the Cleveland area. Jerseys and posters were burned and Gilbert fired back at James during a public tirade. Many believed that the NBA owned Cleveland and gave the Cavs the hook up.
The Cavs turned to a draft pick garnered from the Los Angeles Clippers that only had a 2.8 percent chance of becoming the number one pick. They also landed the number four pick and now are in position to right a franchise that lost nearly half its value in the last year. “This league has a habit, and I am going to say habit, of producing some pretty incredible story lines,” said Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahn.
Kahn is upset because the Timberwolves had the worst record in the NBA and the highest chance of securing the top pick. No team with the worst record has gotten the top pick since Orlando in 2004, which picked Dwight Howard. Minnesota is lucky. It still landed the second pick. Last year the Timberwolves dropped from second to fourth.
Gilbert vowed to win a title in Cleveland before James does in Miami. The Cavs are likely to use the top pick to select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving with the top pick. Cleveland already has veteran point guard Baron Davis but coach Byron Scott likes to play two point guards at once at times.
The Cavs can then go big with 6-foot-11 power forwards Enes Kanter or Jan Vesely. The team also has a $14 million trade exception. Cavs GM Chris Grant played coy with reporters in Cleveland. “I don’t think we can assume anything at this point,” he said. “With the trade exception and the picks, the players we already have under contract, we have a lot of flexibility. I’m looking forward to the next few weeks to see what comes of that.” I would have loved to have been in the back rooms of the lottery selection to see how this happened.