For the second consecutive season, and the third time in four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be selecting No. 1 in the NBA Draft. This, after the Cavaliers, despite having just a 1.7 percent chance of winning the Lottery, became the final team to hear their name called by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum Tuesday night in New York.
“It was incredible,” said Cavs GM David Griffin, who replaced the fired Chris Grant in February. “When Cleveland didn’t pop up at nine, I knew obviously we had moved up and I had to gather myself for a second. Just a remarkable feeling.”
When asked if he had any early thoughts on who the Cavs might select first overall, Griffin said, “I don’t think there’s a clear cut No. 1 pick in most Drafts. I think when people say that they have a really strong feeling for one player over another, but there’s not necessarily a consensus in most Drafts.”
One issue Cleveland will need to sort out: What to do with Anthony Bennett, last year’s No. 1 pick, who plays the same position as Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins. Bennett is coming off a season in which he played less than 13 minutes a game and averaged only four points—for a 33-win team. Will Cleveland be wary of drafting a player who could take some playing time away from Bennet, and possibly inhibit his growth?
“I think we’re very open-minded,” Griffin said when asked if how a player fits into Cleveland’s current roster will be a subject that is weighed when deciding what to do with the No. 1 pick. “We will try to get radically better, much quicker. We really feel like there’s a sense of urgency in improving our team as a whole and we’re going to look for the right fit and we’re very open-minded to what that really means.”
The Cavs also need to hire a head coach, a process which Griffin said is “in its infancy right now.”
Milwaukee, which had the worst record in the NBA this season and, as a result, the highest odds of winning the Lottery entering Tuesday night, fell to No. 2 after Cleveland’s leap into the top slot. But Wesley Edens, one of the Bucks’ new co-owners, refused to give off any sense of dismay.
“Pick No. 2 is a pretty great result,” he said. “I think it gives us a great step in the right direction of building the team we want to have. I’m very, very excited.”
“There’s such a deep crop of players,” Edens later added. “Really, the process has just started in terms of evaluating them. Now, the hard work starts.”
Detroit, which was jumped by Cleveland, will now be shipping the No. 9 pick to Charlotte, completing the terms of a 2012 trade that sent Ben Gordon to the then-Bobcats for the expiring contract of Corey Maggette. Detroit would have held onto its 2014 first round pick and sent its 2015 one to Charlotte had it fallen within the top 8.
Also losing its lottery pick was New Orleans, which, after falling out of the top-5, will now send its 2014 first round selection to Philadelphia as part of last summer’s deal that sent Jrue Holiday to New Orleans in exchange for Nerlens Noel.
The Draft will take place June 26 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Here’s the order of the first round:
7. Los Angeles Lakers
9. Charlotte (From Detroit)
10. Philadelphia (From New Orleans)
12. Orlando (From Denver)
16. Chicago (From Charlotte)
17. Boston (From Brooklyn)
21. Oklahoma City (From Dallas via Houston and Los Angeles Lakers)
23. Utah (From Golden State)
24. Charlotte (From Portland)
27. Phoenix (From Indiana)
28. Los Angeles Clippers
29. Oklahoma City
30. San Antonio