NBA Lottery 2013: How Cleveland Cavaliers Winning No. 1 Pick Impacts 1st Round
Next time I hit up the the poker room and blackjack tables in Vegas, remind me to stop off in Cleveland to rub Dan Gilbert's son's lucky little head.
The Cavaliers won the lottery for the second time in three years, though this year's prize isn't as appetizing as the one they got in 2011. In fact, nobody is even sure who that prize will be.
By getting the first pick, Cleveland sets the tone for the rest of the first round.
If Cleveland selects Nerlens Noel...
Nerlens Noel seems like the best bet to go No. 1 with Cleveland winning the lotto. The injury-prone Anderson Varejao will be entering the final year of his deal before the team has an option, and Noel could replace him as that interior anchor and rim protector.
And no, Tristan Thompson, who averages less than a block a game, is not the Cavaliers' center, so keep that argument in your pocket.
If Noel goes No. 1, Orlando controls the next few picks. They'll have the choice of grabbing arguably the top prospect on the board in shooting guard Ben McLemore, or filling a need with point guard Trey Burke.
The Charlotte Bobcats picking at No. 4 will have their eyes on Orlando. Chances are Washington, whose backcourt seems set, won't be in the market for McLemore. The Wizards are likely to have Otto Porter, Anthony Bennett and Victor Oladipo atop their draftboard.
If Orlando goes with Burke at No. 2, there's a good chance McLemore could be available for Charlotte at No. 4. This would be a great get for the Bobcats after falling two spots from their lottery-projected draft slot.
Regardless, with Cleveland snagging Noel at No. 1, the Bobcats and the Suns (No. 5) should be able to guarantee themselves a shot at either McLemore, Bennett or Oladipo.
The New Orleans Pelicans' pick will also depend heavily on what direction the Orlando Magic go in. If Orlando takes Trey Burke, the Pelicans are likely to think big with either center Alex Len or Cody Zeller. Chances are Oladipo and Porter will be gone by No. 6. Anthony Bennett could also be a fit if available, but Len or Zeller would fill a more immediate need.
If Orlando goes with McLemore, then Trey Burke will almost be guaranteed to be available at No. 6 to New Orleans. Washington, Charlotte and Phoenix all seem committed to the point guards on their roster.
Though Greivis Vasquez was a pleasant surprise for New Orleans this year, Burke is more of a floor general and leader at the position. Vasquez's size could also allow him to play the 2 in a combo-guard role, a move that's becoming more and more popular amongst NBA coaches.
Say that New Orleans chooses to stick with Vasquez at the point and go with an offensive center. That would leave Burke for Sacramento, who would probably throw an all-night celebratory rager if this ended up being the case. Burke would give the Kings a high-character individual who's qualified to run a team.
Detroit will be hoping a guy like Otto Porter or Anthony Bennett somehow slips through the cracks, but if not, Shabazz Muhammad, Cody Zeller and C.J. McCollum could all be viable options.
If Cleveland selects Ben McLemore...
Though Cleveland drafted Dion Waiters in 2012, the Cavaliers aren't in a position to pass on talent to fill a specific need. If they feel McLemore is the top prospect on the board, then that's who they should go with.
That would leave Orlando in a pickle, who would have the choice of taking Burke to replace Jameer Nelson or Nerlens Noel as the top talent. You can't argue either play here, as they seem like the only legitimate options given their roster and who's available.
Once again, New Orleans will be paying close attention to Orlando to see if they scoop Trey Burke or let him slide down to them at No. 6.
If Orlando goes with Noel, the rest of the field would be in a similar situation as they would have been had Cleveland selected the Kentucky standout. If Orlando takes Burke, then Sharpie in Nerlens Noel to Washington at No. 3.
This would leave Charlotte with the choice of Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo and Anthony Bennett. Phoenix at No. 5 would surely be happy with any of these three. If not, they could always go big with Len or Zeller.
New Orleans would once again decide between Burke, a wing or a big, while Sacramento would cross their fingers and hope the Pelicans address their frontcourt.
If Cleveland selects Otto Porter...
Otto Porter is probably the best fit for Cleveland, though his upside doesn't typically justify a first-overall selection.
Still, it's a possibility Cleveland is reluctant to choose an injured player in Noel or a shooting guard in McLemore when they already have Dion Waiters.
If Porter goes No. 1, it would have the same impact on the rest of the first round as it would if McLemore went No. 1.
What should Cleveland do with the No. 1 overall Pick?
Now that Cleveland has the first pick, everyone knows who to call when looking for a trade partner. The Cavaliers have cap room, plus another first-rounder they got from the L.A. Lakers.
Expect a team like Minnesota to be very active in trade talks. You can bet the Wolves have heavy interest in Ben McLemore, and with Derrick Williams and the No. 9 pick as a potential package, they'll be looking to move up.
Don't be surprised to see the Boston Celtics make a push for Nerlens Noel as well, who they interviewed at the NBA Combine despite not having a pick until No. 16.
Without a guaranteed stud in this draft, the Cavaliers could be inclined to drop a few spots and acquire some established talent in the process.
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