"Maybe I'm lucky to be going so slowly, because I may be going in the wrong direction."
- Ashleigh Brilliant
It took me a while to settle on what to name this article.
My first thought was "NBA Draft Lottery 2011: The Path to Redemption Starts Here!" Then I remembered that this is a two-person draft and if we are unlucky then it's more like "The Path to Redemption will hopefully be starting Next Year!"
My second idea was "NBA Draft Lottery 2011: It's Great to be Back!" But I decided that was probably too cynical.
In the end I wound up with what we have: A Cavalier Fan's Survival Guide...because, in reality, this is what we all need.
Lefty Gomez once said, "I'd rather be lucky than good." In many situations I would be in full agreement with that statement.
In the NBA, however, the saying should be that "You have to be lucky to get good."
In Cleveland, eight years ago, we were the lucky ones. Winning the "LeBron Lottery" was a certain cause for celebration for not just Cavs fans, but all of northeast Ohio.
Unfortunately, even after you've gotten lucky, then gotten good, you still need a little more luck to win a championship.
So LeBron left and here we are again. The NBA Draft Lottery...kinda feels like home doesn't it?
For the uneducated, here's how it works: Every team that didn't make the playoffs gets ping pong balls entered into the lottery to determine the top three picks of the draft. The number of balls (greater chance of winning) is greatest for the worst team and then goes down in ascending (or is it descending?) order.
In other words, the worse you were last year the better your chances are of winning the lottery. The remaining teams are then slotted 4-14 according to their records. Hopefully that made sense.
This is a big draft for the Cleveland Cavaliers as we (because I/we are obviously part of the organization) have two picks in the lottery: our pick and the Clippers' pick (received in the Mo Williams/Baron Davis trade).
The Cavs' pick has the second highest chance of winning the lottery at 19.9 percent.The Clippers' pick has the eighth highest chance at 2.8 percent.
The chances of both of those picks ending up one-two is something like 0.000074 percent...feel free to check my math, I may have been a little off.
Now, for those of you who think this is just a fun little thing like one of those scratch off tickets your uncle gave you for your birthday because he was too lazy to get you a real present...this is serious business.
The Cavs desperately need to end up with one of the top two picks, which is very likely at 44.8 percent. The reason being, as I stated earlier, this a two-player draft.
The only two legitimate stars of this draft are PG Kyrie Irving from Duke and SF/PF Derrick Williams from Arizona.
After that it's a huge drop-off. The next guy on most draft boards is C Enes Kanter from Turkey (he was supposed to attend Kentucky this past year but was ruled ineligible by the NCAA). All I've seen of Kanter is a video of him doing various post moves and dunks against no defenders...which was only slightly less impressive than that video of Yi Jianlian doing post moves against a chair.
The top two guys are the only players that most scouts seem convinced will be starters long-term in the NBA. The rest of the guys (many of whom are international men of mystery) you mostly hope will develop into solid rotational players and potentially even starters, though that isn't a guarantee.
Of the two guys, I'd prefer Williams. I think he has the most upside. Also taking him first would allow you take one of the two other PGs (UConn's Kemba Walker or Kentucky's Brandon Knight) with the second pick.
But let's not count our chickens before they hatch. We can debate who the Cavs should draft after the lottery results are in (I expect no less than 45 mock drafts up on the Bleacher Report within an hour of the lottery...I believe we owe it to ourselves to make this happen).
So what can we all do to prepare ourselves for this watershed moment in Cavaliers franchise history?
Start by tuning in to the Draft Lottery on ESPN, Tuesday at 8:30 ET prior to game one of the Western Conference Finals. I'm not sure this is the event that warrants the hosting of a party, but if you feel it does, knock yourself out.
If we win the lottery (and by "win" I mean simply that we get one of the top two picks) we are to all celebrate with exultant joy. This will be a major turning point if we can get one of those top two guys.
However, if we don't win, do not be too downhearted. With the losing of the lottery comes increased chances that we will back in the same position next year with the prospects of a better draft class to look forward to. It's all about finding the silver lining.
Even if we do win, don't get too excited. Is it a big deal? Sure. Is it going to get us to the playoffs next year? No. Chances are that this team is going to be bad for a few years before we get back to anything resembling a legitimate playoff basketball team (the secret to getting good in the NBA is suck for several years straight—just ask the Memphis Grizzlies).
It all comes down to how lucky we are. And hopefully we can say with Bette Davis:
"I've been lucky. I'll be lucky again."
You can follow me on Twitter @ClevelandFlack