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It may seem strange to call the Cleveland Cavaliers losers since they're in possession of the No. 1 pick, but this is not the year you want to be the first team up. There's a reason that Dan Gilbert and the Cavs have been trying to trade out of the top spot for a while now. Giving up the pick to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Luol Deng is the latest rumor, and it makes a great deal of sense for Cleveland.
But analyzing trades isn't the point here, so let's move on and just look at the other options presented to the Cavs.
They could take Nerlens Noel, a defensive specialist who would be the lightest center in the NBA and currently has one working ACL. There's also Alex Len, the Maryland prospect who averaged 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during his sophomore season. They could choose Ben McLemore, thereby creating an instant controversy between the Kansas product and Dion Waiters. They could also select Otto Porter, a safe pick without typical No. 1 upside.
Do any of those options sound particularly appealing?
There's always a great deal of pressure to make the right call with the first selection, as you don't want to be the next team selecting a Greg Oden over a Kevin Durant.
That said, the bigger problem comes after making the No. 1 pick. That rookie is almost guaranteed a large role in the rotation, and that's problematic for a team like the Cavs. Cleveland is hoping to make a playoff push during the 2013-14 season, and giving an overrated rookie major minutes isn't going to help that process.
Unless Cleveland bucks the odds and rolls the dice on Porter, the incoming first-year player will be battling for playing time with a veteran. Noel—when healthy—and Len would eat into Anderson Varejao's minutes, while McLemore and Waiters would be going head-to-head for time on the floor.
These internal struggles aren't necessarily conducive to success, especially when the rookie has an undeserved leg up on the competition simply by virtue of going No. 1 in a remarkably weak class.
Typically, we envy the team with the No. 1 pick, but I'd hate to be the Cavs right now.