If the NBA is hoping that people stop suggesting that the draft lottery is rigged, they need to think of something else, as the Cleveland Cavaliers came out as the number one pick from the raffle for the third time in four years despite having only a 1.7% to get it. The Milwaukee Bucks, the worst team in the league last season, get the second pick, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz.
Number one picks don’t change the franchise, at least most of the time. The Cavs did get LeBron James in 2003 which turned everything around, eventually making them the best team in the East while becoming himself the best player in the league, taking them to the 2007 NBA finals. But the other two picks?
Kyrie Irving, the number one pick in 2011, is an All-Star point guard, but not a player who makes his team much better single-handedly. Three seasons into his NBA career, the Cavs are still trying to make the postseason. Anthony Bennett might go down as one of the worst decisions ever made, although players should be given more than one season to prove they aren’t busts. He might not be an answer to all their problems right away, but becoming a useful player will be good enough at this point.
This year’s draft is a loaded one, making everyone in the top 7-8 spots quite happy and even below them. However, there isn’t a clear number one. Andrew Wiggins of Kansas was the one everyone talked about before the 2013-2014 college basketball season but he wasn’t as dominating as expected. Joel Embiid is the best center with some comparing him to Hakeem Olajuwon, but past cases have taught everyone to beware. Jabari Parker and Julius Randle will also be in contention. Everyone seems to be in agreement that this is the most loaded draft class since 2003, when James, Wade, Anthony and Bosh came together onto the NBA.
Two teams that should be very happy are the Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers, getting two picks, just like the Orlando Magic and the Charlotte Hornets, who actually made the playoffs. The 76ers have the 3rd and 10th overall picks while the Magic hold the 4th and 12th overall picks. The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics seem to be new to this or simply not used to it, as the Lakers pick 7th and the Celtics pick 6th.
It’s worth mentioning that the 76ers, a team that has been in extreme rebuilding mode last season and was making it quite a tanking battle with the Bucks, have five more second round picks. While it might be used to uncover some diamonds in the rough, they’re the most likely team to use that bounty of picks and spend it on an interesting trade target come draft day or around that time.