"I've been lucky. I'll be lucky again."
- Bette Davis
I ended my pre-lottery article with the quote above. So obviously, all of Cleveland has me to thank for providing just a little ounce of luck or karma or whatever that ended up with the Cavaliers winning the NBA Draft Lottery.
So while you're all thanking me in the comment section, I'm going to pass out a few thanks of my own...
I want to start by the thanking the LA Clippers... for oh so many reasons. First, for signing Baron Davis to that ridiculous contract. Second, for giving us Davis AND that first-round pick for just Mo Williams and Jamario Moon.
Third, for not being smart enough to protect that pick against winning the lottery. And I'd like to ask that unnamed Clippers' executive, "How much do you hate this draft now?" I'm sure they have no need for a guy like Kyrie Irving to run with Blake Griffin.
Moving on, I'd like to thank Baron Davis. Our man, B-Diddy! Thanks for being such a malcontent and getting fat out there in LA and not living up that bloated salary, therefore forcing them to trade you. Big ups.
I'd like to thank Nick Gilbert. Obviously when choosing who to send to represent your team (and I'm trying to say this as sensitively as possible), it never hurts the karma factor when you're represented by a 14-year-old or an old blind guy. The basketball gods must look favorably on such things. After all... what's not to like?
Next, I want to thank Josh Cribbs and Joe Haden for representing Cleveland well. Way to show support not just for your own team but the community as a whole. You guys get it. This is a city that sticks up for one another. We all appreciate that.
Thanks to Chad Ford from ESPN for working your magic to get us the No. 1 pick. In case you missed it, Ford was on the B.S. Report podcast yesterday where Bill Simmons had him pick the winner of the lottery by using ESPN's Mock Draft Lottery.
When he did it the top pick went to Cleveland...with the Clipper pick to boot. Evidently he's been pretty accurate with this whole random chance thing. But no matter, it worked for us. So thanks, Chad.
Finally, I need to thank our old friend Mo Williams. We couldn't have done this without you.
You gave us a couple great years, the best in the franchise's history in fact. You worked hard, gave it your all, played through injuries, and were a great teammate.
But in the end we'll all remember you as the guy who magically turned into Kyrie Irving. So you need to receive some recognition for that.
Also, and I tweeted this last night, but doesn't this make Mo Williams the Cavs' de facto team MVP for the year. I mean, seriously...who else is worthy? The rest of the team sucked all year and all they got out of it was the No. 4 pick. Mo got us the real prize!
Okay, now that that's done, we can move on.
It was a wonderful night, not just for Cavs fans, but for all of Cleveland. I think it's safe to say that the ebb and flow of the Cavs franchise over the past two years has in a way drastically affected (or mirrored) the overall mood of the city.
There was an identity that the city had formed with what has traditionally been the third team in town. When they won, we all felt it. When it all fell apart, we fell with them. This was a big step in the path to recovery.
I can't really explain the feelings I had leading up to the lottery. I was simply glued to the TV like a candy shop owner watches a fat kid.
I may or may not have wet myself a little when the NBA guy (whoever he is, deputy commissioner Fife or whatever) pulled out the Pistons card signalling that the Cavs pick had jumped up to the top 3.
Then Cavs fans all around the world celebrated as the Timberwolves card came out for the second pick meaning we would be drafting first overall for the first time since 2003, when the stakes were only slightly higher. It was a great feeling and worthy of the joy and happiness that we all felt.
But let's put this in perspective. And I don't want to rain on the party but I brought up 2003 for a reason. This draft is no where close to that draft.
The two guys who went in spots 1 and 4 in that draft are currently playing in the Eastern Conference Finals along with the guy who went fifth. The top of the 2003 draft was about as deep as any draft in history.
This year's draft has been called the worst of all time. Chad Ford is of the opinion that there may not be a single future All-Star in this entire draft. Ouch!
Let's all come to grips now that this draft won't turn around the franchise and get us back to the playoffs right away. I'm not saying it couldn't happen... let's just not count on it.
What you're going to get out of this draft is hopefully two players who can be starters on this team long-term or, worst case scenario, solid bench/rotational guys.
So what should the Cavs do? I'm sure you all have opinions and are just dying to hear mine.
But first! Quick look at what Chad Ford has for his first mock draft...
He has the Cavs taking Irving No. 1 and Enes Kanter No. 4, with Derrick Williams and Brandon Knight going in between. This would be a dream come true for Cavs fans. It would give us solid starters at the point and center positions, giving the team a foundation to build around.
I would be surprised if Kanter is still there at No. 4, however. Many people feel he is the best player in this draft. And as a friend of mine pointed out, John Calipari doesn't recruit stiffs. If he was trying to get this guy to Kentucky then he must be pretty good.
Most of us haven't been privileged to see Kanter in a game, but it's said he was very impressive at the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit. I think that he will really wow GM's and coaches when he gets into workouts and won't last until the fourth pick.
So here's what I think the Cavs should do...
First, realize that three of the top five or six players in this draft are point guards. Second, realize that the Cavs have a gaping hole at small forward after the loss of LeBron. And third, Derrick Williams is the most athletic player in the draft by far, and possibly the guy with the highest ceiling.
If I were picking, I would take Williams No. 1 and then Kemba Walker No. 4. Unlike some people, I'm totally sold on Kemba as an NBA player and potential star. He's a great leader, works hard to improve his game every year, is lightning fast and quick, and a winner.
With these two guys, here's what the Cavs' starting five could look like in a year or two:
PG Kemba Walker
SG Christian Eyenga
SF Derrick Williams
PF JJ Hickson
C Anderson Varejao
I don't know about you, but I like that team. Lots of youth and potential coupled with elite athletes. Those are things you need to compete in the NBA today.
But let me explore another option. How about trading that second pick?
The Cavs still have the $14 mil trade exception from the LeBron trade that they could use to get a solid veteran player who can help out right away.
The guy I'm thinking about is Rudy Gay with Memphis. Hear me out...
They got very far without him this year and have publicly stated that they will not trade him... whatever (like we've never heard that before).
They also discovered that the identity of their team is their two bigs: Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. They are going to have to resign Gasol this summer to keep that duo intact.
If the new CBA is going to include a hard cap, then this will be difficult for Memphis. They may be open to moving Gay (their highest paid player) to clear cap space.
They could get a young draft pick (like a Kawhi Leonard for example) and plug him into Gay's spot for a much cheaper price. The Cavs would possibly need to give up a guy like Ramon Sessions to sweeten the deal.
If I were Chris Grant, there's no way I would pass this up. Gay is a rising star in the league and one of the best scorers. He would instantly make this team better and could be the centerpiece of a playoff contender going forward.
If there was a trade like this in the works, then I would go ahead and draft Irving No. 1 so I could pair him with Gay. That would be a formidable duo on the offensive end.
But that, of course, is just a pipe dream. It should be very fun to watch (and speculate about) what happens here over the course of the next month or so.
One thing we do know... the basketball gods have smiled on Cleveland once again. But it's going to take a little bit more luck to get to the promised land.
You can follow me on Twitter @ClevelandFlack
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