The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards earned lucky bounces of the ping-pong balls in Tuesday's NBA draft lottery.
The Cavs moved up to the No. 1 overall selection and the Wizards No. 3.
The Cavs had just the third-best odds of winning the No. 1 pick at 15.6 percent. Meanwhile, the Wizards beat even longer odds as they had less than a five-percent chance of at grabbing the third pick.
As you might imagine, the Cavs fans were pleased with the outcome. Check out this happy scene from the Cavaliers' official Twitter feed:
Cleveland Cavaliers @cavs
Reaction from @BarLouieCLE after the 2013 #DraftLottery https://t.co/yhJIqXdzS35/22/2013, 12:58:43 AM
The two teams sandwiched the Orlando Magic, who will draft second despite having the league's worst record last year.
All three of these teams are now in position to grab difference-makers. While this draft class is entering with a ton of hype, fans of these teams should be excited about the talent they will be able to bring in.
Bleacher Report tweeted the first-round draft order after the lottery:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
The @cavs get the 1st overall pick in the 2013 @NBA Draft. Complete draft order. http://t.co/HwSMQAx70Z5/22/2013, 12:59:55 AM
No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Cavaliers, according to NBA.com, only had 4.07 blocks per game, which was 29th in the league. They were 22nd in the league in rebounds per game, and 17th in rebound differential. Also, at plus-0.28 in steals per game last year, they ranked 20th in the league.
Nerlens Noel will help dramatically in all these categories.
In his only college season, Noel averaged 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks and 2.1 steals per game.
The 6'10", 18-year-old has a nearly 7’4” wingspan and his athleticism is off the charts. While he needs to bulk up, he will be dominant on the defensive end from Day 1. And with his good speed and hands, he will always be able to score in transition.
This is assuming, of course, that Noel can recover from knee surgery and stay healthy.
This presents an obvious risk to the Cavs, but the possibility of adding Noel to the exciting young nucleus of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson is too much to pass on.
As Matt Jones, the founder of KentuckySportsRadio.com, points out, this is a perfect situation for Noel to step into:
Matt Jones @KySportsRadio
Cleveland gets the first pick...probably best spot that Nerlens Noel could end up in.5/22/2013, 12:55:43 AM
Not only will he be able to fit into the young core, but with Anderson Varejao also on the roster, Noel won't be asked to do too much as he builds the strength of his knee back up.
No. 2 Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, G, Kansas
While the Orlando Magic finished with the league's worst regular-season record and didn't win the top spot, it is not an unfortunate thing.
It wouldn't have been wise for the Magic to take Noel, and Ben McLemore didn't need the added pressure from the scrutiny of being selected ahead of Noel. Not to mention, general manager Rob Hennigan doesn't need that pressure either.
With Nikola Vucevic, Andrew Nicholson, Glen Davis and Tobias Harris giving the Magic a youthful front line with depth, the Magic didn't need to risk taking Noel and having him struggle with health issues.
Now, the Magic could have traded down from No. 1, but they likely then would not have had a chance to pickup up McLemore, and he is a great fit. According to Fox Sports' Sam Amico, the Magic already realize this:
Sam Amico @AmicoHoops
I think the Magic are OK here. I doubt the Cavs take Ben McLemore at No. 1, and that's who Magic really want.5/22/2013, 5:27:22 AM
Orlando needs shooting. It shot 32.9 percent from beyond the arc last year, and that was 29th in the league.
McLemore has a sweet stroke, and he isn't just a shooter. He is a tremendous athlete who can play defense and grab boards.
No. 3 Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, F, Georgetown
The Wizards needed a wing player, and with John Wall handling the rock at point guard with Bradley Beal next to him in the backcourt, they don't need one who needs the ball a lot on offense.
Last year, the Wizards largely relied on Martell Webster and Trevor Ariza to handle the small forward duties, and this just isn't going to cut it. Neither guy posted a PER over 14.0.
Porter will add new dimensions to the Wizards. His defense will give them a lockdown defender on the wing with the strength to offer some help on the inside.
And on offense, he will give the offense a second facilitator to help take some of the pressure off of Wall in half-court sets.
With Porter's local ties from Georgetown, obviously, this would be a fan-pleasing selection. However, the Wizards won't let this force them into taking him. Yahoo! Sports Marc J. Spears explains:
Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpearsESPN
Wizards won't listen to pressure to draft Georgetown's Otto Porter if he's available at three, source said. Wiz, however, are high on Porter5/22/2013, 1:21:48 AM
They should like him. He is a perfect fit.
Porter is a smart and versatile player. He won't mind filling a role for this team while Wall and Beal get the bulk of the highlights, and he will make the Wizards more sound on both ends of the court.
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