NBA Draft Lottery Results 2014: Twitter Reaction, Recap and More

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

Cleveland rocks—at least when it comes to draft lotteries.

For the second straight season, the Cleveland Cavaliers vaulted up from an unlikely spot to land the top overall selection in the 2014 NBA draft. Cleveland had just a 1.7 percent chance at winning after having the ninth-worst regular-season record in the NBA. This is only the second time in the modern lottery era that a team has had back-to-back No. 1 picks.

The Cavaliers will be selecting first for the third time in four years and fourth time since taking LeBron James in 2003. Cleveland selected Anthony Bennett with the top selection last season and Kyrie Irving in 2011. 

The Milwaukee Bucks, who finished the regular season with the league's worst record, will select second and the Philadelphia 76ers round out the clubs whose selection order was based on random chance. 

2014 NBA Draft Lottery Results
Pick No.TeamChance of Winning
1Cleveland Cavaliers1.7%
2Milwaukee Bucks25.0%
3Philadelphia 76ers19.9%
4Orlando Magic15.6%
5Utah Jazz10.4%
6Boston Celtics10.3%
7Los Angeles Lakers6.3%
8Sacramento Kings4.3%
9Charlotte Hornets (via Detroit Pistons)2.8%
10Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans)1.1%
11Denver Nuggets (via New York Knicks)0.8%
12Orlando Magic (via Denver Nuggets)0.7%
13Minnesota Timberwolves0.6%
14Phoenix Suns0.5%
ESPN Broadcast

As some often forget, the NBA lottery is not a "lottery" in a traditional sense. Only the top three selections are based on how the ping-pong balls land. The remaining teams are then ranked based on the inverse order of their regular-season record.

This is the 10th straight season where the team with the worst regular-season record did not win the lottery. In the current format, only the Cleveland Cavaliers (2003) and Orlando Magic (2004) have parlayed the worst record into the top pick. 

Nonetheless, the story of the night is undoubtedly Cleveland's unbelievable fortune. Left essentially for dead following James' departure, the Cavaliers now have little excuse but their own failures if they fail to re-enter the Eastern Conference conversation. Irving is one of the league's most promising young guards, yet Bennett failed as a rookie and both Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson are flawed. 

New general manager David Griffin is now tasked with one of the toughest decisions at No. 1 in recent memory. He faces the unenviable task of deciding between Kansas teammates Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid and Duke forward Jabari Parker—largely considered the consensus top-three prospects in the class.

Each player has a legitimate claim to the top spot.

Parker is the most instantly translatable talent and should be the (very, very) early favorite for Rookie of the Year. He can score in myriad ways, pulling up for smooth jumpers off the dribble and possessing a sneaky post game. Though Parker projects as a mediocre defender, he's a natural, elite talent offensively and should not have any trouble becoming a nightly 20-point scorer quickly.

Embiid is a wild card. The 7-footer has played just four years of organized basketball, the latest of which was halted by a concerning back injury. Wiggins, Embiid and Parker each skipped the draft combine in Chicago, so there is no concrete update on his progress. If fully healthy, though, Embiid is a potential two-way force. 

Wiggins splits the difference between the two. Possibly the most hyped prep star since LeBron, Wiggins didn't live up to those expectations but is still a ball of potential. He's the best on-ball defender of the three at the moment, arguably the best athlete in the class and a developing offensive weapon with an improving outside jumper.

The Cavaliers could really choose any of the three. The middle of their defense has been a leaky mess in recent seasons, and Embiid could provide the rim protection they passed up by taking Thompson over Jonas Valanciunas in 2011. Wiggins and Parker fill a need on the wing and would lessen the blow of Luol Deng's possible departure in free agency. 

Milwaukee and Philadelphia would probably prefer Cleveland take Embiid. Both have holes on the wing and already have an in-house defensive center. 

Australian prodigy Dante Exum, Indiana's Noah Vonleh, Kentucky's Julius Randle and Arizona's Aaron Gordon—all guys who would've competed for the No. 1 pick last year—are available behind the top trio. Any team in the top seven could wind up with a potential All-Star.

"This is really deep draft," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas told Scott Gleeson of USA Today. "Last year was just a bad draft. I don't think anyone wanted that No. 1 pick. This year, the top dozen are all capable of being stars and there's guys in the second round who could be really valuable pieces."

Tyler Conway's Top 30 NBA Draft Prospects
1Andrew WigginsKansasFreshmanSF
2Joel EmbiidKansasFreshmanC
3Jabari ParkerDukeFreshmanSF
4Dante ExumAustraliaN/APG/SG
5Julius RandleKentuckyFreshmanPF
6Aaron GordonArizonaFreshmanPF
7Noah VonlehIndianaFreshmanPF
8Marcus SmartOklahoma StateSophomorePG
9Gary HarrisMichigan StateSophomoreSG
10Nik StauskasMichiganSophomoreSG
11Doug McDermottCreightonSeniorSF
12Dario SaricCroatiaN/APF
13Adreian PayneMichigan StateSeniorPF
14Zach LaVineUCLAFreshmanPG/SG
15Rodney HoodDukeSophomoreSF
16James YoungKentuckyFreshmanSF
17Tyler EnnisSyracuseFreshmanPG
18Jusuf NurkicBosniaN/AC
19Kyle AndersonUCLASophomoreSF
20Clint CapelaSwitzerlandN/APF
21Elfrid PaytonLouisiana-LafayetteJuniorPG
22P.J. HairstonNorth CarolinaJuniorSG
23Jerami GrantSyracuseSophomoreSF
24T.J. WarrenNorth Carolina StateSophomoreSF
25Cleanthony EarlyWichita StateSeniorSF
26K.J. McDanielsClemsonJuniorSF
27Glenn Robinson IIIMichiganSophomoreSF
28Shabazz NapierConnecticutSeniorPG
29Jarnell StokesTennesseeJuniorPF
30Jordan AdamsUCLASophomoreSG

Of course, the occasion was far from joyous for some teams. Cleveland's ascent will cost the Detroit Pistons the No. 9 overall pick, as they have to send it to the Charlotte Hornets to finish off the Ben Gordon-Corey Maggette swap. 

The New Orleans Pelicans, who could have held onto their pick had they moved into the top three, will now give that selection to the 76ers. New Orleans sent the No. 10 selection to Philadelphia as part of last summer's Jrue Holiday trade.

Also losing lottery picks are the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets. The Knicks owe their pick (No. 11) to Denver to mercifully end the Carmelo Anthony haul, rendering the pick the Nuggets have to send to Orlando (No. 12) mostly insignificant. The Magic and 76ers are the only teams with multiple lottery selections in this year's class.

Avoiding a similar fate are the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Timberwolves had to convey their pick to the Suns if Phoenix would have moved up from the No. 14 slotting.

Overall, there are nine first-round picks exchanging hands this season. In an era where teams are supposedly hoarding selections as a form of low-cost talent, that's a mildly surprising number. Picks in the mid-20s, typically a roll of the dice in the NBA, might turn into long-term starters in 2014.

It's at the very least an infinitely more interesting class than the dregs of last June. Only four rookies from the 2013 class averaged double-digit points this season, and only five lottery selections averaged 20 or more minutes per game.

That almost certainly won't be the case this time around. For now, though, the Cavs are just happy they'll get their pick of the whole lot.



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